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.

Not Attracted to Husband/Partner

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 had a feeling at the time of publishing that this post would receive lots of comments showing support, and lots more anonymous ones empathising with the sad reality of not being attracted to one’s husband or partner.

The more I read, the more devastating the situation appeared. And what’s worse is the many comments that have since been left on this post from both men and women experiencing similar; the details vary, but the theme remains constant: I’m not attracted to my boyfriend / not attracted to husband / why am I not sexually interested in my husband, etc.

I Don't Want Sex With My Husband
I’m not attracted to my husband, and I feel so guilty.

See our Google web story for this post here.

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.

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.

I'm Not attracted to my husband - Couple

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.

Why Am I Not Attracted to My Husband?

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. I love my husband, but I’m not sexually attracted to him. I was never attracted to my husband physically – 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.

I Am Not Attracted to My Husband

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 – I love my husband but I’m not sexually attracted to him. It’s always just been fine – but no matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done or how we’ve done it, I have never felt completely satisfied. 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.

I’m Not Sexually Attracted to My Husband

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 I don’t want sex with my husband and that aspect of my life isn’t great. And actually 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.

I’m Still Just Not Attracted to My Husband

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. He’s just somebody I’m not attracted to; husband or not, I can’t force it. 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? Do you find yourself thinking ‘I don’t fancy my husband’ or ‘I don’t want sex with my husband’, 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 have never been attracted to your husband (or wife).

Are you in love but not sexually attracted to your partner? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, and – of course – you’re welcome to share anonymously.

An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is a huge advocate of personal growth, focusing on journaling to increase positivity and facilitate mindful motherhood. With a wealth of experience in breastfeeding and CMPA, Kate is also an expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.


  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!

    • I appreciate you writing this article and would like to share my story in hopes someone would have some advice for me. I started dating someone when I was 14 years old. We had a common bond in that our parents were both divorcing so it was great to support each other in such a hurtful time in our lives. The first 2 years were great then he started drinking and from there became abusive mentally and physically. I stayed in the relationship due to fear as he threatened to kill me if I left and I believed him after he put a gun to my head. One minute he loved me the next he hated me, and I shared everything I was going through with no one. I was in this alone. One evening he was threatening to call my Mom and say horrible things about her, I heard the phone ring, I got out of bed walked into my Moms room and told her not to answer it, that it was Fred and I didn’t want anything to do with him again. By the grace of God I was able to leave this relationship after 5 years. We went and got a restraining order against him the next day. He tried begging me back, his family tried begging me back and I said “It’s over!”. I was introduced to my husband by a client of his and a client of mine. He is 7 years older than me and had been married twice with 2 children from the first marriage and I found out later his second wife was pregnant. I was impressed that he still desired to be married and didn’t label me to be like all the rest. I was happy to be with someone he wasn’t abusive. I remember thinking I wasn’t attracted to him but it was so desirable to me, to be married and have children so that’s what I did. Our children kept us busy and we didn’t focus on our martial problems. Fast forward 29 years later our children together are now 27,25 and 22. The oldest is married and all are living on their own supporting themselves. Now our relationship is the focus and we are going to counseling. I have shared with our therapist that I’m not attracted to him and never have been, I feel horrible saying that and I would never want him to know that as I know how hurtful that would be. There are things he is working on that could help this issue but I just don’t know. I would never leave him but it would be nice to be attracted to the man I’m married to.

    • I am the husband in a similar situation. My wife told me she never was in love with me or attracted to me. I would guess she would describe me as many women on here have described their mate. A good guy. A great father etc. Decent looking, fit. But apparent I never made her feel giddy or effervescent. She became completely uninterested in sex pretty quickly after we married (10 years now). Recently I found out she had 6 affairs. They were a mixed bag. Some one night stands. Some with people she knew slightly better. She went to a woman’s workshop and found out she is a sex addict. Basically she’s addicted to the feeling a new relationship gives her. It’s all about the chemicals. I could move on and build a better relationship with her if it was just about adultery. But I find the combination of adultery, years of withholding sexually, and the fact that she said she never loved me or was attracted to me to be a bit too much. She IS trying to put in work but it seems so pointless as many of these posts on here can attest.
      As I glance through these posts it becomes apparent that a pattern exists. I almost inevitably come across references to past sexual relationships that occurred out of wedlock. Even some heinous personal examples of sexual assault. My wife has a similar history. Multiple partners and sexual assault. I believe the problems addressed in this blog could probably be traced back to sexual immorality. I’m not exempt. I’ve had partners outside marriage. But I can’t help but believe that if sex was confined to marriage many people would not be dealing with this issue. By the way, one reason I’ve stayed is we have three young kids.

      • Hi Patrick,

        I feel compelled to respond here.

        Firstly, I’m sorry you find yourself in this difficult situation.

        And now I want to address your comments regarding sexual immorality.

        This blog is not religious. I do not believe in sexual immorality, except for abuse, which is vile, despicable, almost always at the hands of men, and never EVER the victim’s responsibility.

        It is sadly true that such depraved behaviour often leaves deep trauma, which may lead to promiscuity. This remains a difficult hangover of the experienced trauma and does not in any way negatively reflect on the victim.

        Sometimes promiscuity may be present without abuse. Providing it does not hurt others it’s still not a reason for judgement. It’s 2021 and women are entitled to enjoy their bodies every bit as much as men are. It does not mean they will go on to have bad marriages.

        When these situations arise it is devastating for both parties. It is never a choice the woman has made; usually she desperately wishes things could be different, better – for herself and for her husband. In many cases the women who write here are distraught at the idea of destroying a relationship they value, in spite of the missing chemistry.

        I cannot allow your comment to go unchallenged. I accept that you are in a dreadful, heartbreaking situation but it is not okay to suggest that women’s promiscuity/sex outside of wedlock is responsible.

        These concepts are very, very normal in this day and age, and thankfully the topic discussed in this post and thread are relatively unusual. The two things are not connected, except perhaps, if women have been left nurturing deep trauma or sorrow for which they are not responsible yet continue to be affected by. Probably not the case for every woman who has commented here, but if it is then we surely need to be looking at who is to blame. It’s not the women.

        • I also feel compelled to comment on this as a woman. I’m sorry but I think what Patrick is saying is true… I say this as a woman who grew up with “sexual liberation”. I don’t come from a religious family. I was taught that all that matters about sex is consent (no mention of the sacred emotional and spiritual bond). I’ve been burned so badly by our culture that teaches that casual sex is fine and all that matters is consent. You don’t speak for all women (just like I don’t either). Personally, I wish someone had sat me down at 14 and told me how sacred sex is, and how much I’d be hurt by having sex with men who had given me no real commitment (and marriage is the only real, lasting commitment). In 2021, people have lots of different views and beliefs. We don’t all think exactly the same as you.

          • Allison,

            There is merit in your comment (which is the only reason I’ve approved it), however I do not appreciate being spoken to in that way, especially when I’m defending abused women.

            You do not know my history or how I think about sex. My point is only that women choosing to be promiscuous is not in/by itself responsible for the situations described in this thread. They may be relevant, and I actually agree that meaningful relationships are far better situations for sex to take place, but just because that is true for you and I does not mean it is the case for all women.

            And I will never leave a misogynistic comment to go unchallenged on my blog, especially not when it has overtones of victim-blaming of abuse. If you don’t like my opinions then feel free to start your own blog.

          • While I appreciate the healthy discussion, I want to point out another hypocrisy. In a side sentence, you mention that you’ve had affairs as well. Did you experience physical trauma which made you do this? How in the world can you judge your wife, when you’re doing the same thing? I’d think your situation would get a lot better if you would reflect yourself and stop pretending your wife is the problem.

        • Sunnie Reagin Reply

          Just came here to say that I really appreciate your response Kate.

          • I’ll tell what I think is impressive, that both of you can have very different opinions, challenge them, and still have respect for each other and leave this civil debate up for others to benefit from. Well done!

          • Hey Tom,

            If you were to nose around my website/social media pages you’d notice exactly that is a huge priority for me, it’s something I’ve even written about in the past. I welcome healthy debate and I’m open to having my mind changed. I approve all comments that remain respectful, but I also feel a responsibility to challenge ideas or opinions I consider to be harmful.

            Thanks for commenting.

      • I think your right about that. I was never the same after someone close to me took advantage of me. I’ve been broken ever since. I think some people think they have the mental and spiritual. capacity to sleep with whoever they want, but it just doesn’t seem to work out.

        I’m so terribly sorry to hear that you’re going through this and I applaud your rationality.

        You mentioned having 3 kids. The best thing to teach them that it is often the people whom we admire, love, and look to
        Impress that are the ones we let take advantage of us. Telll them to guard their hearts and if someone has done something to them to report it. It is so incredibly hard to think clearly when it has, the victim always feels guilty. But eventually it surfaces. We have to stop this cycle of not being true to ourselves. It’s born out of these situations.

    • My family was a real mess and so I was very drawn to my now husband because he could take care of me. He could be a reliable, trustworthy, hard working successful partner and dad. I also had never been successful with boys, despite being cute and bubbly, I was just too scared of intimacy and had low self esteem. So my husband was my first real boyfriend! We were both virgins when we got married, both from strict religious families. As soon as we got married, I lost any desire for him. Well even before we got married, I was not feeling the heat I now have felt with other men. Right away, I just didn’t get aroused by him during sex, his touch did not feel good. I had to go to a fantasy world in order to even enjoy it, he’s never satisfied me. 15 years later….it’s becoming quite a problem. I’m desiring other men badly and my vibrator is my best friend. I feel so awful bc he is a great person and father and he would be crushed to know this. Sometimes I think I should let him go find a woman who is excited to be with him, he so deserves that. But I can’t put my kids through divorce and I also don’t want to end up all alone. This has been so hard to realize and come to terms with. What really made me awaken to this is having a mutual crush situation happen with such intense lust I could not see straight. It has been 2 years and is making it even harder to be with my husband. I have no eagerness. I avoid being around him. This is so sad. Thanks for your article.

  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.

      • Hannah buie Reply

        I married my husband late in life. Felt no attraction for him now or then. I pay all the bills. He doesn’t even help clean house. Never had sex. Can’t even get out of chair due to recent injury.. he is kind but does nothing. Has helped me through surgeries etc. I am so unhappy. We have nothing in common have been in hospital with depression twice in one year. Feel alone and stuck. Want to die most of time. Married late no children

    • This comment is exactly what I am experiencing, down to the honesty towards my partner. We are not married nor have children but he is magnificent in almost all ways. Except that I’m not nor have been sexually attracted to him. I related to this comment the most as I just felt I lost my sexuality, but that’s untrue I am an incredibly sexual person and unfortunately have on a few occasions been reminded by other males in my life that I still am. Only thoughts thus far not actively cheating. I love my partner he is good and kind and my best friend, like the main article I’ve lived with promiscuity and past sexual violation. I pray we figure this out, I’m genuinely scared that leaving him I will never be happy, however if I stay I may resent that decision. Best of luck

    • Sadly, this story is what I have also been experiencing. We have 5 children and I am just at a loss. Break up a family because I can’t “feel” the way I should for my husband…??
      I think back to when we were 1st married. My brain was in, “start a family and have kids,” mode! I was a mom for years and my mind preoccupied. After the kids were older, I realized that I just felt alone; missing something.
      Someone else came along and I had an affair. Of course it created a year of hell for all of us and it was very wrong. I felt new things I had never experienced before and the intimacy was great. Things I have never felt with my husband.
      I have always wanted to be excited when he walked through the door! To come up, give him a kiss and look forward to cuddling on the couch or planning our next date night. I’m not, and am left just wondering where to turn and what to do. I just can’t help but think, “will I ever be able to feel those things again….?” He tries so hard and is a good father and person.
      It feels so selfish of me. Can’t I just please my husband? I can’t force myself. It just doesn’t work, but it has created a lot of arguments and threats of divorce. I just fear our family /relationship is a ticking time bomb. It’s scary and I wish it wasn’t this way. 😕

  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.

    • I know it’s been a few years since you posted this, but I just thought I would respond. My husband and I have been together 15 yrs now. I am just like your wife in the history with sexual assaults, and your just like my husband where he wants me to be as sexually excited about him as he is about me. I just wanted to let you know if she is like me, she loves you with all her heart and there’s no other person in the whole world she would share her life with. The feeling of not being sexually attracted has nothing to do with your physical appearance. I was once told men are physical beings and women are emotional beings, and it’s so true. I wish I had an answer of how she could show the same excitement towards you, but I’m barely coming across this blog and figuring it out for myself. I wish you both the best and hope you can take comfort in accepting marriage is not perfection but acceptance of each other’s flaws

  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. 🙁

    • I am in exactly the same situation. I have children with my husband and he’s a great father and husband, but he just doesn’t do it for me. He never has. Even on our wedding day I wasn’t excited… I made the choice to marry him because he’s a good person and he loved me. I go out of my way to avoid intimacy bc it makes me uncomfortable. A complaint of his is that there is no spontaneity in our sex life and in my head I know that there never will be, bc I just don’t want it in the first place. There is no passion at all there for me. I’m able to live life normally most of the time and avoid romantic movies or books because they make me sad. I was in love once many years ago and I wonder if I’ll ever have that again. It would be terrible to divorce over this, especially because we’ve built a life together and have little kids. I couldn’t do that to my kids, but it hurts me to know that that part of life is gone forever.

      • Michelle I feel every single word you wrote. I can’t watch or read anything sexual and I’m so depressed and mourn the thought that sex is no longer a part of my life. My husband also has ED. This is all I think about and it’s affecting my ability to function in other areas of my life. My husband is a really good man and I’m totally distraught.

  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! 🙁

      • I have been researching subjects like this since I got married. Ive been married for 2 months now and at first I forced myself to be affectionate and sexual but now it’s getting harder and harder. He is an amazing man. He deserves nothing but the absolute best. I can’t keep holding this though. I need to talk to him about this but I don’t know how. I think he has some idea that I’m feeling this way but he’s maybe chopping it up to a phase I’m going through and we’ll grow past it. But it won’t. I love this man dearly but run when he tries to be affectionate because I know if I give it back it leads to him wanting more. I am so ashamed that I feel this way. I have prayed and prayed for God to show me how to love him like he loves me but nothing’s changing. Should I tell him and how do I do that?

      • Hi Kate, greeting from Indonesia.
        I am glad i found this blog.
        Now i understand my situation.
        I am 32 y.o. and going to get married next year with someone i am not physically attracted to.
        In Indonesia when you are a woman and getting older like 27+ then the society or family will push you to get married.

        I just realized I am with my husband-to-be because he is good for me, he is what I needed and he wants to be with me.

        But i dont even know if i love him or not.
        I only can say that i do care about him and try to give or the best i could for him and i do not want to get him hurt.

        But i am never attracted to him physically.

        When we were fitting my wedding dress he looked so happy but i was not exciting at all (imagining our sex life after marriage). I pretended to be happy and excited because he is a good person and i do not want to hurt him.

  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 🙁

      • I also could have written this. Do you mind me asking what your outcome was?

  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.

    • I could have written your comment word for word. I feel so lost. Have you made any decisions?

    • I felt like I could have written this post. It describes my life perfectly. I am married to a great husband and father. Again, he’s not perfect but he’s better than most men out there. But we have no connection, no physical or sexual attraction either. I have 2 children and I don’t know if breaking up a family is worth it for me just to find that with someone else.

    • Your story is almost exactly like mine!! You said you think you know what you have to do? What do you think you have to do??

  11. Has anyone had any luck sorting this out? I’ve been married for 12 years now and have never had these feelings towards my husband. I thought that I just didn’t really have those and he was a ‘good’ guy why shouldn’t I be with him…. we have 3 girls and we are separated right now as I told him that I started having tingles for people but I’ve bever had them for him. I was hoping to we could pray and keep trying to move forward.. not what I expected to happen..
    I am going to counseling as I think I have some abandonment/detachment issues. He is supposed to go to counseling as he has had some codependency issues and we are going to dr Harvey from the marriage builders soon. I’m hopeful but feel a little detached from things.. idk…

  12. I saw you mention praying together about this and if you can that would be great. I can give you more details if you like; but I and my ex-husband and my sister and her husband went through marriage builder’s with good results for her. I on the other hand ended up divorced — not that I didn’t learn things in the process.

    One difference is this – my sister thought her husband was attractive (as in she saw how others could be attracted to him); she was just not attracted to him ever. So once they worked through other issues and addressed some relatively minor physical attraction issues (he wanted her to keep her hair longer and dress up more she wanted him to work on losing 30 lbs and to dress up himself.

    I on the other hand (and I feel horrible for writing this) never saw my ex as attractive at all to really anyone – and no matter what else was right for us. the physical part just never clicked and he tried a lot to do what he could but his weight was always an issue even after losing a lot. I found myself feeling sick because I was becoming embarrassed to be out with him and he slowly became less patient with me and resentful.

    So do you see him as just an unattractive man or an attractive man with whom you’re not attracted?

  13. Interesting article and bittersweet to me as well. I’d dated and had very passionate highly sexual flings but the passion and the brains never quite connected for me. I met my now husband of 20 years as a friend who I had a drunken fling with. But he was very sweet and respectful and kind. He seemed like a better human that I felt I was at the time and got me excited about healthier lifestyle changes and less destructive behaviors. We had fun together and enjoyed each other and were happy to see each other… always calling to see when he’d be home.. but I never greeted him with a kiss and we didn’t snuggle much or touch much… we had ok sex and usually it was after drinking even 10 years into the marriage.

    I don’t think we have the right physical chemistry but I wish that we did. I’m not sure that you can build chemistry/sexual attraction. It just is or isn’t there. He is lanky and athletic and his hugs don’t feel warm and close as lovers in the past.

    We have kids and I think we would both like to feel “in love” with each other but wondering if just family love can fulfill us as we are nearing our 50s. I wonder if we need to kiss at 70 or if we can enjoy traveling together (sexless) during retirement and find that fulfilling? I’d hate to lose him but my heart has never fluttered when he enters a room. He’s always felt like “home” to me, and like a partner and family, but maybe like a sibling? He has 3 sisters and raised by a single mom and I suspect he may also see me a bit sisterly some of the time. We don’t fight we do things together… we are both a bit attractive and stylish. I’m not gay and don’t think he is though it wouldn’t completely shock me actually…

  14. Stayathomemom Reply

    This is me. Definitely have some kind of issues from the last I can’t remember but I know happened and daddy issues a bit too. I met my husband at 27 and I was done with being promiscuous and never getting that relationship I really wanted. The one where I could feel safe. Well my husband made me feel like I was just so amazing and we married a month after meeting. He had a one year old son when we met and I fell in love with him but not my husband. Long story short we went to therapy where I told him this. It was hard but needed to be said. We talked about how I wasn’t attracted to him and felt like we are missing “that part” in our relationship. We went through some stuff over the last 9 years but have managed to stay pretty happy but that’s really because I just ignore the issues I don’t feel safe enough to discuss. Over time I saw how he would react when I tried talking to him outside of therapy. I got sick of him basically trying to throw me out of the house and bringing his son into the room mid sleep so he could see how I was leaving and how it’s all my fault. Ugh. There so much I could go on. So I just stayed so I could have stability and I stayed because his son became my son. He wouldn’t let me see him if I left. I don’t want to bring more trauma to him by leaving. I left two years into our marriage and came back basically because it was hard. No degree to get me a decent paying job. Out of work for those two years we were married. Just was easier. I was weak. I don’t consider myself to be weak usually but I’d say if ever that was the time. So here I am 9 years in feeling the same way i have always felt. He’s basically a good guy. Good dad to our kids and I one on the way. Thinking omg I can I really keep this up? I wanted another child and as soon as I became pregnant I realized I’m just potentially locking myself in for at least another 5 years. How horrible. I’m going to go back to therapy alone. I guess we will see what happens. I mean I’m definitely in a pickle but I don’t think it will be the worst thing to do what’s healthy for me if leaving is the answer. I know I hav sissies that I have to really make sure are not the reasons I feel this way. I know I’m not attracted to him in any way except for he is a pretty good dad for my kids. Part of me feels like ok I did it! I found a good dad for my kids and that’s all that matters. I can suck it up… forever? Idk but then I’m afraid he will be really immature and hurt them by saying stupid things do them about me. And dating right away which is what he does. He can’t be alone. He has do have a woman no matter how bad she is he will try to maleness it work. I feel like thats what he did with me. I don’t think I am really what he wants except that I’m a great mom to his oldest as well. His biological mom is pretty crappy and doesn’t see him nearly as much as she should so I’m here to fill in. Anyway. Yeah this sucks.

    • StayAtHomeMom2 Reply

      Stayathomemom- I feel for you. Your story is my story. I tried to leave him 3 years ago, but he threatened me. He told me he would take away my daughter. He makes all the money. I am completely dependent on him. It sucks so bad. I don’t have degree to get a good job. I feel so foolish for my mistakes. I married someone because other people said I owed it to him and that he was such a good guy. He knows about my issues with our sex life, we have fought about it many times, and he still won’t let me go. I don’t think I could keep someone captive like this. If my husband wasn’t EVER attracted to me, I would ask him to leave. It’s not fair to live life in the dark, which is how I feel. But, as long as I can keep my mind busy and I am okay. However, the moment always comes when we have to be intimate. We are great friends, but terrible lovers. We can laugh and have fun, until sex is what he wants. I have to think about other things to become aroused. He says he loves me so much and he does take care of me. He always wants me to be happy, but what that really means is for me to be happy WITH him. Oh, I am so tired of hurting. Forever does seems like a long time. It’s been 14.5 years and I feel like I’ve aged internally by a decade. Meaning I’m 35, but feel 45. I’m still nowhere near attracted to him. It makes me feel like such a gross person. Does anyone know what to do when you can’t get divorced? We are religious and we aren’t allowed to do so. Our entire family makes that very clear too. No one would support my decision to leave and my child would be heartbroken. I am in over my head. I’m so terribly depressed. Being deprived of fulfilling sex, this one thing that set marriage apart from any other relationship, is affecting every part of my life. I don’t want to be around his family, or partake in social events with him. I am embarrassed to be with him in public. People look at us and know we are mis-matched. I hate not feeling satisfied as a wife should with her husband. I wish there was a restart button. I’ve been to counseling too, but nothing helps. I’m living a lie every day. How long can I do this? Life is too short to be miserable, but I feel it dragging on with this issue. I would rather be alone than have to pretend one more day. There is really only one answer for people in this situation: (1) stay and endure half-hearted, unwanted, bad sex for the betterment of the family. (2) or leave and destroy your family, stability, and finances. Well…shit. Looks like it’s a lose-lose. Someone out there please tell us all how you’re coping.

      • Hello there – my heart goes out to you because I have been in exactly same situation as you in regards to family religion, beliefs and no support what’s so ever from anyone. But please please don’t make same mistake I did. After 24 years I’ve decided I can’t leave like this anymore, I’ve felt my soul was in jail and had to escape. I couldn’t take it any longer, I couldn’t lead a double life – pretending. So I’ve decided I’m going in holiday on my own for two weeks in the sun to reflect. This is something I never did before but felt I want more than anything. I have found some supportive friends through Women Therapy and they reassured me is ok to do it I have the right to do it . I left myself and my son ( nearly 14 years old ) with my husband and off I went. I researched before I went and prepared so I’ve booked half board so I don’t have to go out of hotel in the evening . Well I surprised myself to how happy and free I’ve felt. I read in the evening, reflected a lot prayed for clarity of mind . One day I have found someone 20 years younger and fell in love the chemistry and passion I’ve felt OMG I never ever felt before. I had the best time of my life ( I had more sex in the 10 days with this wonderful lover than I had in 24 years of my marriage) I came home told my husband I want to divorce, told him about the lover but I didn’t tell my family or friends apart from the ones from women’s therapy. I got myself a good therapist to talk to one day a week and she helped me a lot by saying I have the right to be happy. I have the right to not tell anyone about divorce until I am ready. I’m now in the process of divorce still but I know I owe this to myself. I become more spiritual since all of this because I seek more answers and discover more about myself. The young lover and I finally I’ve decided to let go because I knew it was not best for me in the long run. I didn’t want to get trapped again until I am fully recovered and know exactly what it will be best for me going forward. One thing I’ve decided is that I don’t want anymore children as I am nearly 46. I am going to trust that everything will be ok and have confidence in myself.
        I’ve learned that new opportunities can’t come your way when the door is shut. You need to trust and open that door and divinity will quise and support you just have faith.
        Don’t do this to yourself, set free and enjoy your life fully. If there is no love in your heart you’ll never feel truly alive you’ll never feel the joy and passion and connection until you’ll be with someone that gives you that. Now that I’ve experienced this I can’t not ever go back to what it was before. None of this can be bought with money. And remember this your family does not live your life. This is your path and is for you to decide what is best for your soul and your heart.
        I wish you will have strength and do what’s right for your soul. God bless 🙏

    • Wow! I have been dating a man for 10 years and initially fell in love with his 1 year old son! I feel lucky because the dad is a really kind, loving man who works hard and treats me like a queen! I’ve always been a little embarrassed of him though because he doesn’t exercise and doesn’t fit “the mold” in any way, shape, or form. I try to tell myself that I like the alternative lifestyle he lives and that we are leading more interesting lives than the cookie-cutter couples but deep down, I’ve always wanted what everyone else (seems) to have. We are engaged and I am not months pregnant and I don’t know if it’s hormones or what but I am questioning why I chose him and if I should be locking myself in with him by having a child. The new child will balance the power in the relationship since my fiancée has always been the one to say whether or not I can see my “step-son” whenever we would break up throughout the years. I’m asking him to sign a prenup because I’m just so scared it’s not going to work. I’m hoping I’m wrong but statistics are statistics and we’ve broken up so many times, I just have a hard time seeing myself with him forever. Although I will say, I have fantasies about other men but wouldn’t actually ever leave him for any of them. I think I just want him to look like them AND treat me nicely. I guess if I had to choose, I choose nice over attractive. But don’t we want it all?!?

      I’m curious how you are doing in your situation. Has anything changed?

  15. In this situation, why does no one talk about an open relationship as an option? It’s 2019- we can define marriage however we want. I, like many of the other commenters, have never really been attracted sexually to my husband, but, again like many of the other commenters, we have a wonderful and happy life together. I’m not suggesting a free-for-all, but if we communicate with each other and set rules and boundaries, could I not have my sexual needs met outside the marriage without destroying the marriage? Or is this just a fantasy that will inevitably blow up in our faces? Has anyone in this situation tried some form of opening up the relationship? How did it go?

    • I asked my husband, he said no way. He would rather lose me, “the woman of his dreams” than share me sexually with another man. Unfortunately it will never happen for me, but it seems like an ideal scenario for an open-minded couple.

      • I had the same response. It’s also funny, I would definitely do it, but I know I’d still be jealous of my partner if he did (selfish isn’tit). I think it takes strength and already having an open mind. I would give anything to learn to create sexual chemistry with my loving partner

    • I brought it up. He started shaking really bad and said if we did that he’d have to be hospitalized for panic attacks regularly. It took him almost a hour to stop shaking.

      • Same here Rosie. He had a panic attack and almost went to the hospital!

    • Married10Years Reply

      I am actually in an open marriage, but not sexually attracted to my husband. Otherwise, our relationship is awesome and I am so happy to be partnered with him. He’s smart and kind and wild and a fantastic father to our two kids – I just never feel like having sex with him. I can go ages without it and he is soooo in love with me And fawns over me and would happily have sex with me all the time even though he also gets to have sex with other women. My fear is that in letting him know I feel this way (which he already suspects) we will lose something of what makes us US. I really do wish to go through life with this man. He’s my favorite person, besides our kids. But if he knows how I feel I think he’d be devastated. And if he could get over it, and we somehow shifted the scope of our relationship, what would be lost? I sometimes feel like I’d give up being able to date other people myself just to prove to him how much his partnership means to me. The weird thing is that he’s objectively attractive. Like, has no trouble getting dates, is tall and handsome and fun. Clearly, there’s something wrong with me.

  16. I feel like I am in this same situation. Can I ask whatever happened?

  17. As the person on the other side of the situation, I would say tell him and tell him as soon as possible! My wife and I were married for religious reasons, but neither of us now practice. She told me after 12 years of marriage and 2 children that she had never been attracted to me. It came as a shock but once I realized she wouldn’t or couldn’t change, I knew it was over. She wanted to move out and try a separation. I told her I wanted a divorce as soon as possible. We agreed to a cordial divorce without lawyers, that we thought is fair to everyone and we split our time with our kids. It was probably the most difficult year of my life, especially the pain it caused my children. I’ve had some of the lowest points. It cost me financially, I couldn’t sleep, it effected my work, I felt I was unlovable and that I had no value. But now, a year later, I’m healthier, happier, and have a better relationship with my children than I’ve ever had in my life. I actually wrote her and thanked her. I only wish she had told me sooner. Even if I never meet anyone else or get married again, I’m so much happier. I hadn’t realized how depressed it was making me to waste my life with someone who didn’t appreciate me. Not having to worry about her or work constantly to try to keep her happy has freed up my entire life.

    You deserve better and your husband deserves better. I’m not sure what will be the outcome of your situation. I know you’re probably worried how it will effect everyone. But, humans are resilient, I’m confident that everyone in my family will be better off in the long run. My children are happier, I’m happier and I hope my ex-wife is happier. She still believes there’s a soulmate out there and I hope she finds him. We will probably never be friends, which is kind of sad, but I wish her nothing but the best. All we’ve got is a brief period of time on this earth and you’re wasting yours and his by not being honest with him. Good luck.

    • Thank you for this perspective. I am curious, Why can’t you be friends?

  18. I feel exactly as many women have communicated on this blog. It is our choice to stay or leave. It is a risk. The only thing that makes me stay, is the fact that we have a son together.. and we are a “happy” family. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, I’ve already divorced.. i am worried about the toll it (divorce) would take on my son (who is only 4).. and our extended family (husband is like a son/brother to my family, but on the other hand – I can’t stand his family.. which also is part of this crazy emotional mess). I feel like the ice maiden. I try to convince myself I have the ability to fix it.. but how I you “fix” attraction/chemistry when it never existed in the first place? I feel therapy is too late, but maybe we should try? Or just wait until our son is older and figure it out.. again, comes down to choices and risks

  19. I am in the same situation as well. What did you all decide to do ad how did it work out?

  20. This is what we have been doing for 2 years. It’s hard though – lots of insecurities and bumps. Counseling. It definitely isn’t a fantasy solution in a lot of ways, but I do feel like my needs are being met in a better way.

  21. This is /was my story. Met him right after a breakup. I should have taken my time! After a long distance relationship for a few months, we got married (after receiving pressure from family for moving in together). I wasn’t ever attracted to him physically, but rather what he stood for. We tried all sorts of things to make things spicy, but nothing ever worked. It got to a point where I was almost repulsed when he reached out to grab my hand. But, we manoeuvered adulting together starting at 23 and 21. So…. 8 years later, 2 kids and 1 angel baby, I filed for divorce. And I feel like I can breathe again. My heart breaks for my babies, but we have been cordial. I just pray for my kids now. I almost feel guilty for feeling so free. After so many years of not being attracted to anyone, I had my first flirt. Wow! I hadn’t felt that in almost 12 years (previous ex… Remember?)

    Choosing what to do can be hard. If you believe in God, I like to say anything is possible… But this kind of chemistry cannot be created out of thin air.

  22. I searched for this. Googled it. I’m in my mid-30s and pretty sure I eventually want marriage and kids. I finally found an incredible, kind, creative, talented, practical, spiritual, humble man who would be an excellent husband and father… but I have zero attraction to him and never have. Not an ounce. He’s handsome most of the time to me, but not sexy, not ever. We’ve been dating a year. He’s insanely timid, won’t come on to me even when I used to beg for him to. Now I just don’t want to have sex with him at all. When he tries to come onto me it feels scripted and tense and just… off.

    I’ve never been turned on by him one single time. I have sex out of a feeling of obligation because he’d leave me if I didn’t and I’m not sure I can let him go. He wants it all the time… apparently. That’s what he says verbally, but I have never gotten any sexual energy, body language, etc. he’s very in his head. Sex feels like him trying to perform for me hoping I’ll approve of him. It’s heart breaking to not be able to give him that unquestionable validation… he’s such a good guy. But it’s also heartbreaking to consider entering into a life of sexual numbness for myself.

    He has a past full of emotional abuse for his mother and sex-is-dirty from catholic school and an ex wife who was raped and they stopped having sex as a result… for years. So he has a lot of baggage. Meanwhile I’m a very sexual person, done a lot of work to heal from my own sexual trauma, and have always always enjoyed my sexual relationship with past partners… so this is a first for me. I don’t know what to do. I feel like if I decide a best friend, husband, and father in a largely sexless marriage is good enough, that I’ll end up cheating and/or leaving. It’s hard to imagine turning down someone who I’d have good chemistry with as it is.

    • Don’t do it. Please…learn from this article and the replies. It’s not worth it.

    • I married my husband under the exact same circumstances. I could have wrote this.

    • Rosie-

      I entered into a relationship with my best friend 8 years ago. And only recently have I realized that the sexual chemistry is missing. Your situation is very similar to mine. Except I have recently met someone else who I love and am extremely attracted to, I just still love my husband as a person I’ve always seen in my life. I’ve been honest with my husband and I am currently I’m struggling with this decision. Hope everything works out for you.

    • Twisted Princess Reply

      This is me. I’ve been with my husband for almost 10 years. We were actually best friends for a year before we started dating, and, for a while, I was a little attracted to him – but nowhere near what I’ve felt for other people. We had regular sex for the first year or so… Then it started being less and less often, and not on my account. The thing is, I was a virgin when I met him, and I had no idea sex was supposed to be better than what I had with him. So, when that’s all you know, you want it, right? He, on the other hand, was never that active sexually. After the honeymoon period faded, he started getting less and less interested in sex, and that itself was a turnoff for me. But then we had a few problems in our relationship, and I gave him an ultimatum to get better. It didn’t work, so I tried to break up but he wouldn’t have it, so I ended up cheating on him. The sex with the person I cheated on him with was mind-blowing. I had no idea sex could be like that. He forgave me for cheating because I did try to break up, and he hadn’t improved anything I’d asked him to. But because of what happened, I learned that my husband and I were incompatible sexually. We still have sex, but the frequency is much less than ideal for me and, honestly, I’m not atttacted to him at all. Everything he does in bed is unattractive to me. When I read or watch romance, it breaks my heart, because I love him dearly, but there is no spark. I don’t want to tear his clothes off, I’d rather he kept them on. He’s a wonderful person and everything else about our life is great…I don’t know what to do.

  23. It’s comforting to see that others have obviously put the same words into a search engine. I’m 54 and after 27 years of marriage have just now been able to admit this truth to myself. Like some of the others here, I am having trouble imagining or justifying leaving a good marriage because of sex. I have brought up an open marriage but he doesn’t think he could handle it. I don’t have the answer, but here is what I am thinking about today. When he touches me in a sexual way I experience aversion. It’s been getting worse. I’m starting to see physical attraction as something that is hard-wired, and when I engage in spite of how I feel it’s like I’m overriding my natural system. In some ways it’s like it’s against my consent. This cannot be good for my body, mind or soul.

    • Amy, I feel exactly the same way, and I am one year older than you. You wrote it very well. What can we do? Al

    • I also could have written this myself. I’m 52 and married 20+ years with 3 kids. I dont think the kids will ever forgive me if i leave.

  24. I was attracted to my husband and we had lots of sexual tension and desire when we were dating. I was raised in a Christian church that taught purity and saving yourself for marriage. I couldn’t wait until I was married to have sex with him, but we did wait and we’re both virgins when we got married. Then we got married and literally since the night our wedding on I did not enjoy or want sex. My desire has gone down each year and sex feels like a chore. Worse than that it hurts because I can never get turned even after hours of foreplay. Sex takes so much effort for us that he doesn’t even want to try most days either, there is no such thing as a quickie for us. I thought maybe I have a medical condition, but the doctor says it’s just stress. I guess I’m the only person in the whole world to have 10 years of stress that can’t be relaxed enough to even have sex. I fantasize about cheating all the time because I feel like I could easily get myself there with another stranger just because of the excitement of something new. I love my husband in every other way and he is amazing, but we can’t even have sex enough to have children let alone have any fun. My case is so extreme that I don’t know who can even help me. I’m depressed and feel cheated that my religion told me I was honoring God by saving sex for marriage and now I wish I had been a dirty slut in college because at least then I would know what sex feels like and why it’s such a big deal to everyone.

  25. Another Anon Reply

    Reading through this post and all the comments has been extremely helpful to me, a man approaching my 40’s, who’s been married to a woman over 15 years whom I’ve never felt attracted to, but have considered my best friend since the day we met.
    I was teased and shunned in school because I was considered ugly (overtly thin, poor posture, relatively short) until the very last years of high school, and was among the worst students in class irrespectively of the subject. I grew a lot in height during my final teenage years, gained muscle mass and got my posture mostly fixed, and suddenly women started showing interest in me and I became very popular. I dated a lot and loved two women (not simultaneously) with all my heart, truly wanting to spend the rest of my life with either of them. Unfortunately, neither wanted me in the end, which elevated my sense of poor self-esteem that I’ve developed during early childhood.
    I thought that the solution was to date more people, casting an ever-widening net – and I did. I had several causal encounters and even a few friends-with-benefits deals. One of those was in the process of ending disastrously when I met a new wonderful woman. She was extraordinarily intelligent, sophisticated, we shared most interests, we had similar life goals, and she became my best friend within days – and is that to this day. From a purely superficial looks standpoint she met my three absolute minimum criteria, but also came with three features that are among my biggest turnoffs and only one of them can be changed and requires great effort.
    During our time dating I wanted to split up twice. The first time I didn’t because I didn’t want to break my best friend’s heart as I was afraid it would have ended our friendship. The second time I didn’t because she had lost her virginity to me and I felt like I had taking advantage of her if I left then. I was excited when I proposed to her a few years later, but always felt like it was a bad idea deep down and yet something I had to do because we lived in different countries.
    After our first two children were born things had reached a boiling point and I was ready to divorce, yet ended up staying because of the children. Same happened after the next two children and I started dreaming about what my life would be like if she wasn’t alive, but quickly realized that I would be totally doomed, since there’s no way I could take care of the kids while working – I rely so much on her. I started thinking about how to commit suicide instead and even got a very large life insurance policy with the goal of waiting it out for three years and then killing myself, making sure she and the children would live comfortably without me having to endure the lack of attraction towards my wife. I was too much of a coward to do this and ended up canceling that policy.
    We have sex varying from 1-2 times per week to once per month, although both her and I have high libidos. She repeatedly complains about the lack of sex and I’ve taken it as a chore to ensure that she gets enough of it, even though I practically have no interest in having sex with her. She knows something is wrong and has accused me of porn addition, low testosterone, depression and being too dedicated to work to engage in sexual activity. Everything else is false, but I confess being sad almost all the time mainly because I’m married to someone that I find physically rather repulsive.
    Our relationship has developed a balance where she gets up with the kids to make them ready, we both go to work, and after we come home I spend my evening with the kids and put them to bed while she engages in kid-free relaxing activities. If we end up crossing paths in the evening there’s a 1/4 chance we’ll end up having sex, but usually by the time the kids are all in bed she’s luckily asleep and then I can blame the lack of sex on us having no time for it. When we have sex the only way I can come is sadly if I think about some of my exes or some other women that I find insanely attractive and that’s after great difficulties. She comes practically every time seemingly effortlessly.
    I keep reading stories about people getting married without loving each other and around half the time the parties eventually “learn” to love each other, but whenever I read stories where one party isn’t physically attracted to the other that attraction almost never seems to materialize later on – unfortunately. It’s incredibly painful to be in love with someone who you’re not physically attracted to and who you could spend an endless amount of time cuddling or eating with or going to the movies, but never want to kiss or to have sex with. I truly wish I could love my wife the way she loves me – wholeheartedly and both platonically and physically – but I can’t. My life is otherwise great with many healthy children, very high annual income, great living conditions, very few problems, but at times I feel like I could give it all just to be with someone who I love the way my wife cares for me.

    • I totally get it. I married such a great man and he cares for me so well. He’s honestly not that bad looking, but he has never done it for me physically. Sex is a chore. I feel horrible for feeling this way. It bothers me all the time and I cry in private and have also considered the suicide thing, but that would hurt too many people.

      • I also could have written this myself. I’m 52 and married 20+ years with 3 kids. I dont think the kids will ever forgive me if i leave.

  26. I’m at a loss. I thought I was the on.y one. I thought I was broken. I’m devastated that this is my reality. And the thought of this being my forever is so sad. But I feel selfish to leave someone who is such a great friend and provider. And I’m trapped because I’m older and need him for my security. I’m such a sexual and passionate person. I would love to have an open marriage, but he could never survive that. What do we do?? I know so many people have done at his…I just never thought it would be me.

  27. I have just been told that I’m the unattractive husband. Similar story married 14 years, both been faithful, kids, we are great friends and have a healthy social life together. I’ve always known that I married ‘up’ as she is a beautiful woman but I feel like I can hold my own physically too. I’m funny, charming, successful and seem to have the attention of the woman in the office BUT she has never been very sexual with me and I felt she was just generally cold and disinterested. You question what is wrong with you, could you work out more, am I not tall enough (she is taller then me) but I never imagined she felt as others on this board do that I’m just not attractive to her.

    I am happy to field questions about what it feels like on this side and maybe bounce ideas off me for building that attraction but as we go to counceling in a few days, I feel hopeless with the love of my life and long term goals all feeling extremely uncertain.

    Has anyone successfully managed to become attracted to their partner for the first time after being with them forever?

    • Thanks for your vulnerability.

      My husband also wants to work on things and try to “woo” me back. In my head, I want this. I love him and want to be attracted to him. But the thought of him working extra hard not only makes me feel more guilty, it also repels me.

      I’ve realized I was never attracted to him. He treated me well when I had low self esteem and as someone raised in the church and in a covertly abusive home, I just always did what was expected of me. He fit the bill. We’ve been married for 16 years and have 3 kids. Sex didn’t matter a ton to me when we were in the throes of babies and naps and busy toddlers, but in the last couple of years my drive has increased (also due to my age and hormones). So now I finally want sex, and I think about it all the time, I just don’t want it with him. 🙁 I think I also have an aversion because of all the times we’ve had sex when I didn’t really want to, or just did it to get him off my back.

      I had a customer at work a few weeks ago who I felt an instant chemistry with. I’ve thought about him every day since, and I feel so badly about it. I want to feel this way about my husband but I don’t and never have. The thought of counselling to make me feel that way feels soul crushing.

      It’s a shitty situation for everyone. We both blame the church for a lot of this, because it taught us to marry for the wrong reasons. I don’t know what to do. I don’t think sexual attraction can be forced or created. I just don’t.

  28. I don’t know if anyone is still reading the comments, but I will feel a little better writing this even if no one reads it.

    I’m a man and you can imagine how I found this blog and discussion. My wife recently told me she’s never been attracted to me. I didn’t ask whether she was but I initiated a conversation about our almost nonexistent sex life and the topic of attraction cam up. Or the lack of attraction on her part. I was numb when she told me she isn’t and has never been attracted to me. She kept asking me to say something, but what could I have said? I understand? It’s OK, honey?

    I’m deeply hurt and I feel lied to. I think, objectively, I was lied to for 14 years. Her admission doesn’t change my opinion of her. I think she’s a good person who either doesn’t feel attraction for me now and needs to believe she never did, or she never did but dated and married me believing she would. Or perhaps believing a marriage was more a partnership than a romance. She didn’t set out to hurt me, but I’m in a lot of pain and I think she kinda caused it, you know. Anyway.

    We’re talking again tonight and I’ll be telling her I’m leaving. She says she doesn’t want that, and I believe her, but it’s what I want. What I need. Someone up the page asked about why a man wouldn’t stay friends with a woman under these circumstances. I assume that means more than civil, but actually friends. All I can say is that when my soon to be X asked if I have to leave can we stay friends, I asked her if the past several weeks seemed like the basis for a friendship.

    Some day I suspect I’ll appreciate her honesty. I’ll be OK in the long run, and I’m optimistic enough or foolish enough that I’ll trust another women to not…..well I’ll trust another woman. But right now I wish she had had the courage to leave and tell me a lie, instead of this ugly truth.

    • Someone’s still reading this. I went through a similar experience as you a few years ago. It was a shocker. I thought “why in the world did you marry me?!” Since then I’ve understood better why she did, because she thought I would be a good husband and father, but it still perplexes me. I feel like this is as important to “confess” to your fiancé before marriage as it is to mention previous sexual relationships and trauma. There should be no major skeletons still in the closet at the marriage alter and I think this is one.

  29. I know this post is old. I wanted to post even though I’m not married. I’ve been in a series of monogamous relationships since I was 15. I’m 21 now. By series I mean that I usually get “bored” around the 1 year mark, stick it out another year, and then find the courage to leave (because I’ve found a new exciting person, who I inevitably repeat with). I am a junior in college, we’ve been together 2.5 years. I left my previous long term relationship to be with him. We dared the summer before I went to college (on opposite sides of the country) and I told him at the beginning I wanted him to be a fling. I was never sexually attracted to him. I just made myself think so (probably because of the excitement) but I did attatch myself to him romantically. We’ve been long distance and our whole relationship I’ve been telling myself the distance is to blame for my lack of passion. And he is deeply and irrevocably in love with me and perfect in every compatible way and always tells me he loves and I know he means it. I feel so guilty. But we have been living together at his parents since quarantine for the first time. And at first I was excited. But there is nothing. Mo passion, no sex. Except occasionally. But I think it’s hot to initiate but I feel no desire to do that with him. I’ve stopped enjoyi kisses and hugs more than just comfort. And cuddles feel like a nightly chore. I can’t imagine living my life without passion but so many people say that you should stop believing in love that way. We even opened our relationship because I thought I was just missing sex. But I havent had sex. Just talked to strangers on the internet. And realized, I feel more attraction through the phone then I ever have with my bf. I feel so so guilty. And I feel horrible because his parents are my best friends. And I love his little brother like my own. But I love spending time with everyone but him when we go out. And I know I have to leave. I do. I will. But I have nowhere to live during quarantine and I feel bad that I have to continue using him like this.

    • similarly distressed Reply

      People are still commenting it seems, so I will add my story.

      He was safe, stable, sane, sweet, smart… everything except handsome. I always wished I had been physically attracted from the start, but that was never there. My upbringing made me believe those concerns were shallow, so I swept it under the rug. I have a high sex drive and generally find desire to be a turn-on, so our sex life was actually enjoyable, although—this sounds awful and I feel bad for writing this— I prefer not to look him in the face. I wish I enjoyed kissing my partner, but I usually try to avoid it. We are great partners and companions, truly best friends, but it is feeling more and more platonic for me.

      Fast forward to recently. Weeks ago, I locked gazes with someone I’d seen around the neighborhood. He was an extremely handsome man who always seemed to be glancing at me or trying to catch my gaze, but I had always purposely avoided looking at him, because what good could come if it?

      Well, that day I felt emboldened and impulsive for some reason, and finally met his gaze. It was the first time I’d had a good look at him and I was positively spellbound. We stared intensely at each other for an eternity, and then he began to approach me. I broke my gaze away and avoided him when I realized he actually intended to come speak to me. I was simultaneously electrified and distraught that this was the hottest encounter I’d ever experienced with another man in my life. And I’ll never be allowed to pursue that connection.

      I could barely sleep or eat for a full week. I confessed to my husband what had happened, how I had felt, and it broke his heart. He is doing his best to help out more with the kids now to relieve some of the stress I have, and try to protect my sense of individuality, but I still feel mournful over not being able to explore such a natural, powerful attraction as that.

  30. This is what I’m feeling right now too! I’m so angry and sad that because of the purity culture I was raised in, I missed out on so much in my twenties. I rarely dated and never had sex with anyone other than my husband. Now I’m finding that I’m bored, disconnected while having sex, and generally disinterested. I feel like it should be better than this. But I don’t know first hand.

  31. I am a wife coming to terms with something similar but my situation is different from the other examples. No man ever approached my when I was a teenager right up until 6 weeks before my 20th birthday. My self esteem was rock bottom as a result, none of the usual experiences of teenage girlhood and I thought I was literally a monster. I had come to terms with never engaging in any sexual act. I was also coming to terms with the fact that I am bisexual- but also that it didn’t matter because I’d never be with anyone so I didn’t need to tell anyone. I thought it would be ridiculous to tell people, they would just think so what? No one will ever sleep with you anyway! Anyway the first man to approach me was my now husband. He was my first kiss, 6 weeks before I turned 20. I have felt sexually excited with him many times but only when I simply focus on his penis (sorry too much info!). If he tries to connect with me directly I cringe. He has bad teeth that have always repulsed me and I don’t feel any attraction to the rest of his body. We have been together 11 years now and we are trying for a baby and struggling. It’s made things a lot worse for me because I am trying to keep it up within all the time and forcing myself through it when we’re on a ‘fertile’ day. I have felt the sexual chemistry that people are taking about but only ever in secret with people who I think would never have considered I felt that way. So I’m unsure how I know that something is missing really, I just do. I love my husband so much. We are best friends in a really intense way. No-one know or understands me like him. I don’t know why that doesn’t make him attractive to me? I would be very scared about leaving him- I don’t know if I could live with breaking his heart but also so much of my own happiness is tied to our relationship I don’t think it would be worth the sacrifice.

  32. Louise Chernick Reply

    Just seen this thread
    This is my situation
    Is it still active??

  33. When I first met my husband, we were teenagers and he was my security blanket. I latched onto him and him onto me. I never felt comfortable with him around others & sexual encounters felt… strange. I would be performative with sex because I didn’t understand it. I never knew it should feel natural with someone you had chemistry with… I thought sex had to be forced. I wanted him to lust after me & that was my main objective in our relationship. I realized now that I was suffering from limerence and wanted him to accept me more than I wanted to be with him.

    Anyways, we got married bc my father threatened to cut me off if we moved in together—I wanted, needed, to move in with him bc I was terrified of being alone.

    Now we are married with two toddlers & I met someone else who I click with effortlessly. He makes me feel so good and I love being with him in public (something that has always been awk with my husband… hard for me to understand why). Anyways, I told my husband about the crush & now we are going to counseling.

    I am convinced the attraction and chemistry will never be built. It seems like we are just wired differently and it will never work between us.

    Other things in the relationship are good… we have great trust and he makes me feel safe.

    I feel that I want to leave him because I want the love I have felt with the new man for myself AND for him. I truly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to give it to him.

    I relish the idea of having a year solo to work on myself and truly discover who I am and what I actually want.

    • Wow I think it’s crazy and so telling of our society that so many people have had this same experience. I am in my late twenties, have been in several long term relationships, and have been in my current relationship for 2 years. We are engaged. I never felt much attraction to him, he isn’t ugly just never gave me butterflies. I don’t get the same kind of satisfaction out of sex with him that I have with past relationships (exes that mostly treated me badly). I am so scared about marrying him and being in a relationship the rest of my life where there just isn’t a spark, on my side at least. He is head over heels for me. I’ve ignored it the last 2 years but getting engaged recently has me thinking about it constantly, fixating. I love my fiance- he’s kind, fun, funny, we have similar interests and values. Why does sexual attraction and chemistry have to be the end all be all? Ya it would be nice to have more fulfilling sex but do you HAVE to have awesome sex to have a happy life? I would be heartbroken to leave the relationship- he’s my best friend, we have two dogs together, and we are both getting older with prospects for finding someone else, marrying, and having kids dwindling. I don’t want to hurt him. Can you have a fulfilling marriage without insane chemistry? Is it possible to purposely put less value on physical attractiveness and focus instead on the good parts of a relationship? We put so much value on attraction, physical appearances, and sex. Is it possible to make yourself, through practice and time, ignore those aspects and choose to focus on the positives of a relationship?

  34. LoveMyHusband Reply

    As tears well up, I’ve found what I was looking for. THIS. Me and my husband have been together since 16 and 18 (15 years as I write this). Always had a sexual attraction to each other, or so I thought my attraction was to him. But it’s not, I don’t think it ever was. When we would have sex, I am always off in my own world and imagining other things to make sex enjoyable for me. I’m 31, and finally really opening up about all the horrors that happened to me in childhood up until I met my husband. I didn’t realize how much I needed to revisit these occurrences until I was confronted with how lacking our sex life is. I always said, “oh it’s because of the kids (we have 2 girls)” or… umm… I guess I always say because of the kids! Lol. Now that I’m digging into it, it has a lot to do with not receiving proper counseling after the occurrences during childhood, and having 2 daughters now. It is constantly on my mind of how badly I worry about my girls safety. I am finding that I hate the horrible things that happen to girls, women. I hate the way Hollywood and the media brainwashes us into accepting certain awful things as normalcy. And I feel like it’s made me hate men. But I love my husband to death! I couldn’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else. I love him so much, but I think what helps is this… I was told that “men are physical beings and women are emotional beings”. When I think of my husbands body, I feel nothing. I feel no physical sexual attraction (probably because of the sexual abuse by males), but when I think of how he takes care of us, the sacrifices and compromises he makes, the amazing teamwork we have in so many things, especially parenting (I guess this would be compatibility?) I am so emotionally attracted to him, like in my soul. And I don’t know if men can understand that feeling. Maybe it has something to do with becoming a mother. Anyways, thank you and your friend for this post and not taking it down. It looks like it has helped a lot of people, including me. Much love and cheers to healing!!

    • Hi and thanks for commenting.

      I’m so sorry you’re having these difficulties. I just wanted to draw your attention to this post in case it helps you.

      Wishing you and your family the very best.

      • LoveMyHusband Reply

        Wow! Thank you so much! The information is so helpful. I’ve always wanted counseling but wasn’t sure where to start. Now I know exactly what I need to look for! Thank you again! I appreciate you and all the work you do!

  35. I could’ve written this post.

    In high school, I was sexually assaulted and told no one for 7 years… I couldn’t bear the judgment and humiliation. Two weeks after the assault, my perfect match asked me out. I wasn’t interested but decided I’d date him for 2 weeks, then let him down gently. As it turned out, we were perfect for each other.

    Fast forward 2 years, and he cheated on me. We had all the same friends, and he won them in the breakup. Looking back, I realized that subconsciously, I never wanted to be that hurt again… and that kept me from finding a truly compatible and sexually attractive mate.

    It took me 17 years to get over the relationship and emerge from the clinical depression. In the meantime, I was engaged to 1 man who cheated… I broke it off. Then I dated and married my partner (16 years) who I’ve never been attracted to. In fact, (and I hate to put it this way), but I’m out of his league. He’s told me this and many, many people have told him and me this. Looking back, I think this was intentional.

    The trauma of what I went through in HS was more than I could ever bear again. I thought by finding someone less accomplished, less attractive, and less hardworking than I would lead to his loyalty. Oh the irony… he cheated on me a few years back. Meanwhile, I have always been 100% faithful to everyone I’ve dated/married.

    Yes, his affair hurt, but nowhere near as badly as my high school boyfriend situation. I was fine within a year. In essence, my approach worked… the worst happened, and it was no big deal because I don’t actually like my partner like that anyway. If I could just rid myself of this persistent empty feeling.

    I’ve also noticed that I never introduce my partner (or past exes) to friends or coworkers. I keep things very separate, and I think it’s because I don’t want to loose anyone in a breakup, and I don’t want to risk my partner cheating with a friend (which my HS BF did). At this point, we have wonderful children and a comfortable routine, but I feel absolutely dead inside.

    Is this what responsible adulting is supposed to feel like? Is this as good as it gets for me? Am I just that damaged? I’ve pondered these questions everyday for the past 15.5 years, and I’m fairly certain I made a mistake, but what do I do about it now? Ride it out in the closet for the next 40 years? Or upend my children’s lives because I’m selfish and want to feel something, ANYTHING again? I’ve tried SO hard to be attracted to him, but I accept that it’s simply not possible.

  36. I’m not sure if it’s utterly sad and selfish or refreshing and honest to read I’m not the only person that feels this way. Not surprisingly, just like the countless others, I had a traumatic sexual experience as a teen. I’m sure you can venture to guess that means I’m a little crazy. To add to my cause, I grew up with an alcoholic mother who was physically and verbally abusive and my dad left when I was 6. In other words, I’ve also got daddy issues and mental health issues for days!

    Needless to say, I felt worthless, I became a drunk, and looked for “love” in all the wrong places as cliche as it sounds. My go to “type” was: tall, successful, but equally messed up, abandonment triggering, and lying asshole. I had no shortage of finding one qualified boyfriend right after the next.. and the next.

    I met my husband in the middle of breaking up with another cheater. My husband was short and a little chunky but he was safe, nice and liked to party. We were friends at first because I wasn’t attracted to him. Eventuality, I didn’t like being single for more than a month so I decided to give a “nice” one a try for once.

    In our first year, my husband gained 40lbs (190-230) at 5’8” because he got a job in the alcohol industry. I gained 30lbs (130 to 160) at 5’7” too. We also drank heavily 5 out of the 9 years we’ve been together. (I only stopped the 9 months I was pregnant.) We rarely ever had sober sex.

    My mother passed away from alcoholism at 56 and shortly after I decided I would wind up like her if I didn’t stop. So I quit drinking 3 years ago, (my husband did cut way back), and I started exercising, dropped all my extra weight and started feeling great about myself for once. I started to feel like I wasn’t worthless. My husband has stayed very overweight despite not drinking as much and doesn’t care much about his personal hygiene (really bad oral hygiene).

    The thing is, I’ve been working so hard at changing my life for the better and he’s mostly the same, unhealthy person. The only difference is that I have to have sober sex with someone I’m repulsed by. It’s a head trip and it makes me feel very, very used. I know I should feel lucky in most ways because he’s still very nice, I have a beautiful daughter, a fantastic house in a highly desirable area, and don’t have to work hard to make a living. He says “I’m a lucky man” because he knows I’m more attractive than he is. We hardly argue let alone fight. I love him but I’m not in love or attracted to him. I’m also terrified of hurting my family or him. I’m scared about leaving and how I could manage living in a HCOL area on my own. I’ve never actually been alone before. I’m not sure what’s worse.. leaving a beautiful life with an unattractive man or living a life free but without the stability of him for me and my daughter.

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