Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Good morning,
Hello all, new user here needing some advice.

My wife and I have been married for 17 years and we have 3 kids from ages 10 - 15. Up until last year, since about 1996, I made it a priority to be as intimate as possible trying to show my wife through actions that I was truly in love with her (because I was) by making sure we kissed goodbye, holding her, holding her hand, calling her from work in the middle of the day and whatever else I could think of to be certain she knew I was thinking of her. I also talked to her and let her know what I was doing and that I would feel better if she recipricated...that I needed to know that she was thinking of me. I had read somewhere that the more intimate a husband/wife is, the more successful they become! Also, it was fun and I enjoyed it, and I thought we both enjoyed it.

It would get better for a month or so, then she would would revert back to acting like she didnt care, like we were just friends not an intimate couple, not initiating sex (I would have to do that all the time) and now talking to me or showing me she cared.

So I would talk to her, let her know I'd like more involvement from her, for her to initiate sex, etc. Almost like a bell curve, it would improve then slowly dissipate until she was back to not showing she cared again.

In addition to this, when I would try to have a conversation with her, she would now begin to get irritable with me, start yelling and getting sarcastic as soon as I mentioned anything that had to do with criticising her actions. Of course, when I would admit my faults and what I was doing to correct them, she was all on board and offering constructive criticism, which I took in stride and corrected as best as I could.

Since the end of last year, I've given up. I'm tired of fighting this. Obviously, now, unless I completely initiate it, there is no intimacy in our relationship. Unless I begin a conversation, she is content to watch TV. If I do something nice, I can honestly say I can count the number of times she has said 'thank you' on 1 hand. And, unless its done in a sarcastic manner, I truly cannot remember a time when she has apologized or said 'I'm sorry'.

What really irritates me is that she is all happy and bubbly with her friends. None of them get treated like I do. They all get to see the fun/smiley/friendly/encouraging wife...the wife I married just out of college. I never get to see that when we're alone. I get the sarcastic/pissed off or just completely disinterested wife. I bring this up with my wife; the response is usually along the lines of, "Whatever".

Now, I know that when I point a finger at someone to criticize them, I've got three more pointing back at me. But, damn, I'm just tired of the fight.

I've asked our kids what they think of their parents relationship to get their point of view, and they think its good. Our 10-yr old thinks its really good because "you don't fight like some of my friends parents".

Suggestions?
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Tall,
Take a look at the link and tell me if it makes sense to you.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TallDrinkoWater View Post
Good morning,
Hello all, new user here needing some advice.

My wife and I have been married for 17 years and we have 3 kids from ages 10 - 15. Up until last year, since about 1996, I made it a priority to be as intimate as possible trying to show my wife through actions that I was truly in love with her (because I was) by making sure we kissed goodbye, holding her, holding her hand, calling her from work in the middle of the day and whatever else I could think of to be certain she knew I was thinking of her. I also talked to her and let her know what I was doing and that I would feel better if she recipricated...that I needed to know that she was thinking of me. I had read somewhere that the more intimate a husband/wife is, the more successful they become! Also, it was fun and I enjoyed it, and I thought we both enjoyed it.

It would get better for a month or so, then she would would revert back to acting like she didnt care, like we were just friends not an intimate couple, not initiating sex (I would have to do that all the time) and now talking to me or showing me she cared.

So I would talk to her, let her know I'd like more involvement from her, for her to initiate sex, etc. Almost like a bell curve, it would improve then slowly dissipate until she was back to not showing she cared again.

In addition to this, when I would try to have a conversation with her, she would now begin to get irritable with me, start yelling and getting sarcastic as soon as I mentioned anything that had to do with criticising her actions. Of course, when I would admit my faults and what I was doing to correct them, she was all on board and offering constructive criticism, which I took in stride and corrected as best as I could.

Since the end of last year, I've given up. I'm tired of fighting this. Obviously, now, unless I completely initiate it, there is no intimacy in our relationship. Unless I begin a conversation, she is content to watch TV. If I do something nice, I can honestly say I can count the number of times she has said 'thank you' on 1 hand. And, unless its done in a sarcastic manner, I truly cannot remember a time when she has apologized or said 'I'm sorry'.

What really irritates me is that she is all happy and bubbly with her friends. None of them get treated like I do. They all get to see the fun/smiley/friendly/encouraging wife...the wife I married just out of college. I never get to see that when we're alone. I get the sarcastic/pissed off or just completely disinterested wife. I bring this up with my wife; the response is usually along the lines of, "Whatever".

Now, I know that when I point a finger at someone to criticize them, I've got three more pointing back at me. But, damn, I'm just tired of the fight.

I've asked our kids what they think of their parents relationship to get their point of view, and they think its good. Our 10-yr old thinks its really good because "you don't fight like some of my friends parents".

Suggestions?
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Been there and I feel for you. A couple of observations:

- A marriage counselor told me I need to make sure I've given 5 geniune compliments before one criticism.

- Everything you wrote was about your efforts to get what you want from her. What does she want that she's not getting from you? Have you asked her? Have you listened when she tried to tell you? Usually, that's the deal. You are doing x,y and z that a wonderful husband would do. Congratulations, but in her mind, you are not doing a, b and c that she wants you to do.

- If and when you do ask her, assuming you reflect back on what she's told you and you can't recall anything, you need to be doing it just for her, not so she will reciprocate with what you want.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

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Been there and I feel for you. A couple of observations:

- A marriage counselor told me I need to make sure I've given 5 geniune compliments before one criticism.
Judging by what I read on here, there are some people who would struggle to find five things to be genuinely complimentary about with their partners.

"Darling, you really do BREATHE so well..."
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Old 05-17-2011, 03:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

As VLR suggested, maybe all the things you do for her ISN'T what she's looking for.

Maybe with three kids 10-15, what she really wants is to be left alone for some period of time during the week.

Maybe not, but you need to find out what is missing. these issues are rarely one-sided and what you re doing or not doing is probably not very evident.

As for initiating intimacy, who cares who initiates? If you want it, ask for it. It's an issue if there's no intimacy, not who initiates it.
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Old 05-17-2011, 03:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TallDrinkoWater View Post
Good morning,
Hello all, new user here needing some advice.

My wife and I have been married for 17 years and we have 3 kids from ages 10 - 15. Up until last year, since about 1996, I made it a priority to be as intimate as possible trying to show my wife through actions that I was truly in love with her (because I was) by making sure we kissed goodbye, holding her, holding her hand, calling her from work in the middle of the day and whatever else I could think of to be certain she knew I was thinking of her. I also talked to her and let her know what I was doing and that I would feel better if she recipricated...that I needed to know that she was thinking of me. I had read somewhere that the more intimate a husband/wife is, the more successful they become! Also, it was fun and I enjoyed it, and I thought we both enjoyed it.
Pause. Good intentions. Possible wrong actions.

Have you done any reading on love languages? The kinds of attention that you have been giving may be how YOU speak love. But it may not be how she hears it.

My husband speaks love through touch. Not I! I have to work really hard not to flinch with his little drive by caresses. Not that I don't love the feel of him, but if I am say doing the dishes, it feels like his body is in my way. He has a very hard time speaking love my way, through words of affirmation.

But knowing about love languages and specifically what each of yours are may help you learn to speak and HEAR each others'.



Quote:
It would get better for a month or so, then she would would revert back to acting like she didnt care, like we were just friends not an intimate couple, not initiating sex (I would have to do that all the time) and now talking to me or showing me she cared.
Ok we are talking about intimacy, caring and sex all in the same breath. This makes sense for you because, like many men, they go hand in hand. The sex forms and strengthens the intimacy.

It may be helpful to recognize that for many women it does not work that way. The feeling of caring and intimacy must preclude the desire for sex. Sex is expression of what is rather than the creation of so to speak.


Quote:
So I would talk to her, let her know I'd like more involvement from her, for her to initiate sex, etc. Almost like a bell curve, it would improve then slowly dissipate until she was back to not showing she cared again.
In addition to this, when I would try to have a conversation with her, she would now begin to get irritable with me, start yelling and getting sarcastic as soon as I mentioned anything that had to do with criticising her actions. Of course, when I would admit my faults and what I was doing to correct them, she was all on board and offering constructive criticism, which I took in stride and corrected as best as I could.

Since the end of last year, I've given up. I'm tired of fighting this. Obviously, now, unless I completely initiate it, there is no intimacy in our relationship.
[/quote]
Pause for a moment. In your mind, try to disassociate sex and intimacy. She likely feels a lack of INTIMACY that makes her not want to have sex.

Please do not feel blamed. Or accused. It takes only one in a partnership to learn new ideas, act accordingly and change the dynamic in the hopes of engendering a change in the other. You are the one who is here. I woudl be saying similar things to her from a different PoV if she were here.

Quote:
Unless I begin a conversation, she is content to watch TV. If I do something nice, I can honestly say I can count the number of times she has said 'thank you' on 1 hand. And, unless its done in a sarcastic manner, I truly cannot remember a time when she has apologized or said 'I'm sorry'.
You sound like you have a number of issues before you. Not at all uncommon when things have piled up over 17 years!

Quote:
What really irritates me is that she is all happy and bubbly with her friends. None of them get treated like I do. They all get to see the fun/smiley/friendly/encouraging wife...the wife I married just out of college. I never get to see that when we're alone. I get the sarcastic/pissed off or just completely disinterested wife. I bring this up with my wife; the response is usually along the lines of, "Whatever".

Now, I know that when I point a finger at someone to criticize them, I've got three more pointing back at me. But, damn, I'm just tired of the fight.

I've asked our kids what they think of their parents relationship to get their point of view, and they think its good. Our 10-yr old thinks its really good because "you don't fight like some of my friends parents".

Suggestions?
Several prongs, all of them have to do with educating yourself on creating a new dynamic.

1. Google love banks, love languages.

2. Read here the Nice Guy and man up threads. Is it possible to be TOO good to your wife? You betcha. And guess what it kills? You betcha. Sex. Also read the stickies in the Men's Clubhouse about fitness tests and how to pass them.

3. Find a resource on limit setting in a relationship. if she is treating you poorly, then you need to decide on, and effectively set the boundaries of behavior you are going to set.

Good luck!
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Old 05-17-2011, 03:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VLR View Post
Been there and I feel for you. A couple of observations:

- A marriage counselor told me I need to make sure I've given 5 geniune compliments before one criticism.

- Everything you wrote was about your efforts to get what you want from her. What does she want that she's not getting from you? Have you asked her? Have you listened when she tried to tell you? Usually, that's the deal. You are doing x,y and z that a wonderful husband would do. Congratulations, but in her mind, you are not doing a, b and c that she wants you to do.

- If and when you do ask her, assuming you reflect back on what she's told you and you can't recall anything, you need to be doing it just for her, not so she will reciprocate with what you want.
Thanks for the response. I've asked specifically what she wants, gave her time to think it over, then I wrote them down (and dated the note) and committed to working on them...letting her know when I'm doing those things so she can see that I'm making an effort at it. But it is a two way street; I let her know what I wanted to see and none of them happened. No commitment to getting them done. Nothing. When I asked why she wasn't making an effort, she just says, "Because I dont feel like it".

This is how a lot of our conversations go; when I peel back the onion, and she hasn't gone off the deep end by yelling/screaming and getting sarcastic, the bottom line I've found out is she doesn't want to put out the effort.
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Old 05-17-2011, 03:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TallDrinkoWater View Post
the bottom line I've found out is she doesn't want to put out the effort.
OR she doesn't know how to or really what she wants. It is not at all uncommon for women (and men from a different angle) not to really know what they want. She may not realize she is fitness testing you, and you are failing.

See my other post. The Man Up, Nice Guy and Fitness Test topics are ones you want to look at. (Not to the exclusion of the love bank. The love bank stuff is important too.)
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Old 05-17-2011, 03:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Thanks for the suggested reading.

A lot of the warm/hot characteristics apply to me. But I've felt that if I don't respond to her in a lot of those ways, there will be no intimacy in our relationship.

So, as I indicated, near the end of last year, I've just gotten tired of the fight and have implemented a contrarian effort to a lot of the warm/hot items.

The result: We are more like roommates with a cordial relationship. We both love our kids and I won't entertain divorce but damn, I'm just tired of it.

Something else that comes to mind while thinking of this. We were at one of our kids events this past weekend with the wife of one of our friends that have been married for about 15 years. He showed up a little late...she completely turned her attention from our conversation, looked at him, cupped his cheeks with both her hands and gave him a kiss to welcome him because she hadn't seen him all day.

Now that, to me, is a sign that she's thinking of him and they are intimate. My wife has not ever done that but I keep wishing and hoping that maybe she'll change. Or, maybe not and I'll wait another few years for the kids to start their own lives and address this problem at that time.
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Old 05-17-2011, 03:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TallDrinkoWater View Post
Thanks for the suggested reading.
Are you referring to me?
Quote:
A lot of the warm/hot characteristics apply to me. But I've felt that if I don't respond to her in a lot of those ways, there will be no intimacy in our relationship.
I have no idea what you mean bu warm/hot characteristics.

Quote:
So, as I indicated, near the end of last year, I've just gotten tired of the fight and have implemented a contrarian effort to a lot of the warm/hot items.

The result: We are more like roommates with a cordial relationship. We both love our kids and I won't entertain divorce but damn, I'm just tired of it.
Like it or not, complaining to her that you want sex is never going to work.

Quote:
Something else that comes to mind while thinking of this. We were at one of our kids events this past weekend with the wife of one of our friends that have been married for about 15 years. He showed up a little late...she completely turned her attention from our conversation, looked at him, cupped his cheeks with both her hands and gave him a kiss to welcome him because she hadn't seen him all day.

Now that, to me, is a sign that she's thinking of him and they are intimate. My wife has not ever done that but I keep wishing and hoping that maybe she'll change. Or, maybe not and I'll wait another few years for the kids to start their own lives and address this problem at that time.
Yah it frequently makes sense to do the same thing hoping for a different result. Oh wait! That is the definition of insanity.

Seriously, you can either

- complain - you will get no change
- live with it - you will get no change
- divorce - and then you will just get to go through this again with your next wife having learned nothing

Or you could carefully read the stuff on here and elsewhere and learn how to change the dynamic in your relationship.
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

[QUOTE=
Something else that comes to mind while thinking of this. We were at one of our kids events this past weekend with the wife of one of our friends that have been married for about 15 years. He showed up a little late...she completely turned her attention from our conversation, looked at him, cupped his cheeks with both her hands and gave him a kiss to welcome him because she hadn't seen him all day.

Now that, to me, is a sign that she's thinking of him and they are intimate. My wife has not ever done that but I keep wishing and hoping that maybe she'll change. Or, maybe not and I'll wait another few years for the kids to start their own lives and address this problem at that time.[/QUOTE]

I registered just so I could respond to this post! I know exactly what you mean, its not just the sex, but the INTIMACY that is lacking. I have been traveling this same path for the last 14 months, and after 30 years of marriage, I too have had enough. If I wanted a roommate to do dishes thats what I would have done and not gotten married. Intimacy may be out of our marriage, I am soon to follow....I too have given up.... in the last three months I have heard her tell the guy she works with, and her brother that molested her as a child that she loved them....she wont say that to me, "cause she isnt sure"...know where I stand. From reading on many of these forum posts I see that some women still love their husbands, up until last week I was not so sure.
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

While my SO and I do have sex regularly, there is rarely any intimacy. He hasn't ever really been an affectionate guy. I know the "roommate" feeling myself all too well.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TallDrinkoWater View Post
Good morning,
Hello all, new user here needing some advice.

My wife and I have been married for 17 years and we have 3 kids from ages 10 - 15. Up until last year, since about 1996, I made it a priority to be as intimate as possible trying to show my wife through actions that I was truly in love with her (because I was) by making sure we kissed goodbye, holding her, holding her hand, calling her from work in the middle of the day and whatever else I could think of to be certain she knew I was thinking of her. I also talked to her and let her know what I was doing and that I would feel better if she recipricated...that I needed to know that she was thinking of me. I had read somewhere that the more intimate a husband/wife is, the more successful they become! Also, it was fun and I enjoyed it, and I thought we both enjoyed it.

It would get better for a month or so, then she would would revert back to acting like she didnt care, like we were just friends not an intimate couple, not initiating sex (I would have to do that all the time) and now talking to me or showing me she cared.

So I would talk to her, let her know I'd like more involvement from her, for her to initiate sex, etc. Almost like a bell curve, it would improve then slowly dissipate until she was back to not showing she cared again.

In addition to this, when I would try to have a conversation with her, she would now begin to get irritable with me, start yelling and getting sarcastic as soon as I mentioned anything that had to do with criticising her actions. Of course, when I would admit my faults and what I was doing to correct them, she was all on board and offering constructive criticism, which I took in stride and corrected as best as I could.

Since the end of last year, I've given up. I'm tired of fighting this. Obviously, now, unless I completely initiate it, there is no intimacy in our relationship. Unless I begin a conversation, she is content to watch TV. If I do something nice, I can honestly say I can count the number of times she has said 'thank you' on 1 hand. And, unless its done in a sarcastic manner, I truly cannot remember a time when she has apologized or said 'I'm sorry'.

What really irritates me is that she is all happy and bubbly with her friends. None of them get treated like I do. They all get to see the fun/smiley/friendly/encouraging wife...the wife I married just out of college. I never get to see that when we're alone. I get the sarcastic/pissed off or just completely disinterested wife. I bring this up with my wife; the response is usually along the lines of, "Whatever".

Now, I know that when I point a finger at someone to criticize them, I've got three more pointing back at me. But, damn, I'm just tired of the fight.

I've asked our kids what they think of their parents relationship to get their point of view, and they think its good. Our 10-yr old thinks its really good because "you don't fight like some of my friends parents".

Suggestions?
And these types of women wonder why their man has an affair and quick to play victim!

I think that if she truly doesn't value you like you claim on here, then the feelings are not mutual between you two. Of course, after the fact of the affair initially she will see you as the one 100% at fault, but I think it takes two to tango and she is driving you into this situation. Some women need their husband to have an affair to be kicked into gear to finally look at themselves too, and I have seen this example a couple of times now with friends.

I'm suggesting nothing, but just saying.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TallDrinkoWater View Post
Good morning,
Hello all, new user here needing some advice.

My wife and I have been married for 17 years and we have 3 kids from ages 10 - 15. Up until last year, since about 1996, I made it a priority to be as intimate as possible trying to show my wife through actions that I was truly in love with her (because I was) by making sure we kissed goodbye, holding her, holding her hand, calling her from work in the middle of the day and whatever else I could think of to be certain she knew I was thinking of her. I also talked to her and let her know what I was doing and that I would feel better if she recipricated...that I needed to know that she was thinking of me. I had read somewhere that the more intimate a husband/wife is, the more successful they become! Also, it was fun and I enjoyed it, and I thought we both enjoyed it.

It would get better for a month or so, then she would would revert back to acting like she didnt care, like we were just friends not an intimate couple, not initiating sex (I would have to do that all the time) and now talking to me or showing me she cared.

So I would talk to her, let her know I'd like more involvement from her, for her to initiate sex, etc. Almost like a bell curve, it would improve then slowly dissipate until she was back to not showing she cared again.

In addition to this, when I would try to have a conversation with her, she would now begin to get irritable with me, start yelling and getting sarcastic as soon as I mentioned anything that had to do with criticising her actions. Of course, when I would admit my faults and what I was doing to correct them, she was all on board and offering constructive criticism, which I took in stride and corrected as best as I could.

Since the end of last year, I've given up. I'm tired of fighting this. Obviously, now, unless I completely initiate it, there is no intimacy in our relationship. Unless I begin a conversation, she is content to watch TV. If I do something nice, I can honestly say I can count the number of times she has said 'thank you' on 1 hand. And, unless its done in a sarcastic manner, I truly cannot remember a time when she has apologized or said 'I'm sorry'.

What really irritates me is that she is all happy and bubbly with her friends. None of them get treated like I do. They all get to see the fun/smiley/friendly/encouraging wife...the wife I married just out of college. I never get to see that when we're alone. I get the sarcastic/pissed off or just completely disinterested wife. I bring this up with my wife; the response is usually along the lines of, "Whatever".

Now, I know that when I point a finger at someone to criticize them, I've got three more pointing back at me. But, damn, I'm just tired of the fight.

I've asked our kids what they think of their parents relationship to get their point of view, and they think its good. Our 10-yr old thinks its really good because "you don't fight like some of my friends parents".

Suggestions?
I think my wife has two husbands! She is sharing us.... Thought I was the only one with these challenges. I honestly have no idea what to do either.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:21 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tired of my wife's lack of intimacy: Suggestions?

She doesn't treat her friends like crap because they'll leave if she does. She puts you on the back burner because she can and you'll still be there.
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Sexless marriage & lack of intimacy Haveaheart64 Sex in Marriage 2 08-24-2012 11:02 AM
Total Lack of Intimacy buxfan Sex in Marriage 39 09-16-2011 04:48 PM
Total Lack of Affection: I'll Take any Suggestions Summergirl Sex in Marriage 18 09-02-2011 02:19 AM
Lack of Affection and Intimacy Lasr60637 Sex in Marriage 11 12-15-2008 04:47 PM

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