Q: My husband and I have been married for 8 years this July. I am 28, he is 40.I was married quite young to a man who is a lot older than I am. At first it didn’t seem to be much of an issue to me. Now as I am getting older, I am having some issues. For the past couple years, things haven’t really been quite right between us. He is un-aware of any problems (we don’t discuss it) but my problem is that I don’t think I love him anymore. He is a great guy…very kind and generous but I don’t find myself sexually attracted to him. I never look at him and think ‘wow, he’s so hot’! I think the age difference is one of the issues. Our relationship has become more of a friendship. We have sex maybe a couple times per month and when we do…it’s not that enjoyable. It’s the same thing each and every time. Please tell me…is it normal to feel this way about my husband? We both work and I get home every night and cook the dinner. He never cooks for me….it would be nice on the odd occasion…I’m not expecting him to cook every single night. After dinner, we watch TV and more often than not, he falls asleep in front of the TV and then I go to bed. I went away to a work conference recently and met up with a friend. I have known him for a while and we used to have a ‘thing’ about 11 years ago. I am ashamed to say that I arranged this trip for one reason only…to have sex with him. We both knew the deal. So we met and had fantastic sex. I now realize what is missing from my marriage. I am not proud of what I did but I have no guilty feelings. I told my girlfriend about my problem. She has advised that I leave my husband if I feel this way. Deep down I know she is right but I am scared. I am scared of being alone again. On the other hand, I know that is unfair to my husband who is completely oblivious to any marital problems. I really do not know what to do for the best. If I leave him, not only would I completely ruin his life I would also cause a lot of hurt and upset in my family. But I don’t think I should stay with him just for the sake of it. I am stuck in a rut. I would really appreciate any advice than you can give me.
A: I personally don’t think not having a good sexual relationship with one’s spouse is a good enough reason to leave… mainly because that can be improved, both on your own or with the help of a therapist. I’ve also seen the pattern before that having a large age difference in a relationship matters more as you age. Many people grow apart and the differences become more prominent than the commonalities. However, if you are not talking to your husband about your concerns, how do you possibly think it could get better? Before you decide to leave you owe it to him to let him know how unhappy you are. Then depending on how he reacts you can decide whether the relationship is salvageable or not. If you are not making your desires and needs known, how could he possibly meet them? Cheating and running away are sometimes easier than facing the real problems. You made a commitment when you married him and I think it is time to see if there is any way to rekindle the flames. I highly suggest finding a good couple’s therapist (and possibly an individual therapist as well) to help you through this process. If after working on this issue, with his involvement, you still don’t feel that you love him and you want out, then it would be time to go. Be honest with yourself and with your husband and do what’s right. Good luck.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Mar 2007
Counts, H. (2007). I’m stuck in a rut with my marriage. Can you help me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 20, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/03/20/im-stuck-in-a-rut-with-my-marriage-can-you-help-me/