My husband and I have been married for coming up to 17 years. We have an amazing bedroom relationship but, outside of the bedroom, there is barely a friendship any more. We both work and lately I have found that I prefer being at work than at home. I have tried talking about it with my husband but the conversation ended in an argument so I haven’t attempted to bring it up again.
I have also noticed that I have started to avoid him – I think that it was unconscious at first, but now not so much. We have children together so I would rather not break up my family, but I feel really lonely when I’m with him.
Can our relationship be saved or is it time to start looking for someone who is more than just a lover and maybe a friend too?
While it’s more common to hear about those who still care but have lost sexual desire, you two are not alone in your reverse situation. Whether this relationship can be resurrected depends on what you are both willing to put into it at this point. It will require both of you identifying and owning your own part in what has gone wrong.
I don’t believe it is helpful to stay together for the children when you are modelling disconnection and perhaps disrespect rather than a loving interaction with each other. There is also clear evidence that the relationship between parents plays a key role in the transmission of parenting patterns and in attachment security across the generations, so this horrible strain must be sorted or ended.
Is it that something has gone wrong or have the non-sexual parts of intimacy always been missing? For some individuals, sustaining lust, love and emotional nurturing in the same relationship stirs powerful internal conflict. What did your parents model for each of you about the day-to-day work of staying in love? I can give you 101 ways to deepen non-sexual intimacy, but first you have to identify and dismantle the barriers you’ve built between each other – presumably constructed of resentment or disappointment. Given your difficulties in talking, find a good couples counsellor – or a friend who can mediate – and give it all you’ve got: there’s a lot to lose.