Author Topic: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker  (Read 54766 times)

charis

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #100 on: March 20, 2015, 07:05:02 AM »
OP, you have never said whether she responded to your concern, in therapy or otherwise. What is the reason she has given for treating you like this? 

Frankly, at this point, I would just let her read this thread.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #101 on: March 20, 2015, 07:13:06 AM »
Damn, breaking up with a life partner because they aren't interested in engaging in an arbitrary physical act with the same frequency as you would prefer? What about all the more important things in a relationship, like the common goals, the time you share together, and the history between you? Not to mention "love", assuming you believe in that. Why cast that all aside over an arbitrary physical act?

If you want sex, there are many ways to get it without a relationship. Maybe you could investigate whether your partner is okay with you having sex outside the relationship in order to satisfy that need, while the emotional exclusivity remains between you and your wife.

Barf.

Wupper

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #102 on: March 20, 2015, 07:13:45 AM »
Whenever I go to hold her in a hug to show Iím happy to see her home after a day at work or go to kiss her, she gets all defensive.

This right here. Wow.

Free yourself. Right now.

justajane

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #103 on: March 20, 2015, 07:24:51 AM »
Like mm1970, my husband and I have had pretty long dry spells during pregnancy and the postpartum period. In that case, there was a distinct hormonal reason, and the lack of sleep didn't help. I kind of relate to the OP's partner's reaction to the OP, since I have also responded negatively to being touched. In my circumstance, it was having young children in my arms and being manhandled by them all day. It was not fair, but in my mind I just thought of sex and intimacy as one more thing on my "to do" list, as another person who wanted something from me. I have learned, of course, not to think this way. I love my husband deeply. I am still attracted to him. There is no one else I would want to be with. It would break my heart if he wanted to divorce me because we weren't having sex as frequently as he wanted. Honestly it would lead me to step up more. If she doesn't when "threatened" (I don't actually think it's a threat) with the relationship ending, then I do think it is best to end it. Plus you two are still not married and don't have kids. These matters will likely make things much harder.

I'm interested in the idea that a marriage is defined as "sexless" if you only have sex 10 times a year.

I would agree with those who have mentioned the problems surrounding hormonal birth control. I was on it for only a year, and let me tell you - it really did its job. I never felt like having sex anyway. I was an asexual being. It sucked that this was our first year of marriage. The same happened to me on antidepressants. I decided then and there that I had to find a way to regulate my depression without pills.

I want to mention one more thing. Before I had children, sex was oftentimes painful for me. I went to a gynecologist to explore why but never really got a reason. After my first, I was amazed at how much nicer sex was. I'm certainly not saying, "Go ahead and have kids and then see how your sex life is....." I just wanted to point out that sexuality is often very complicated.

What about orgasms and masturbation? I ask mainly to bring out the fact that she might not have discovered her sexuality yet. Some women can be late bloomers in that department. Without this, they might just think of sex as a chore or a service to their partner rather than a mutually pleasurable experience. I.e. when you have had sex, was the sex good? For you? For her?

Ultimately, it sounds like you have made the decision. I also couldn't be with someone who rejected hugs and kisses. It also sounds like she hasn't explained to you why. All this rejection and lack of knowledge must really be painful for you. You really have my sympathies.

Having said that, just because one's sex life is good doesn't mean that one's relationship is. If I had to choose between a good sex life and a good marriage, I would choose the latter. Not saying they are mutually exclusive, but one does not equal the other, despite what people have said. In another marriage thread, I had written about my present struggles with sex frequency, and one regular commenter said that my husband was "thinking of divorce and probably surfing porn." I'm glad to see more varied views on here. Ykphil, you are awesome. 

slugline

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #104 on: March 20, 2015, 08:36:20 AM »
Damn, breaking up with a life partner because they aren't interested in engaging in an arbitrary physical act with the same frequency as you would prefer? What about all the more important things in a relationship, like the common goals, the time you share together, and the history between you? Not to mention "love", assuming you believe in that. Why cast that all aside over an arbitrary physical act?

Physical affection is a legitimate channel for two people to feel connected to each other. It's no more "an arbitrary act" than acts of verbal communication. If my partner lost interest in having periodic talks with me, and spurned attempts at conversation, I'd feel similarly isolated and rejected -- and unloved.

caliq

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #105 on: March 20, 2015, 10:18:08 AM »
Take it to counseling and see if it can help. The chance of success is worth the time and money.

We have. Four appointments so far over two months.

Nothing has changed.

Umm...that's not enough time or frequency for counseling to be effective.  I would urge you to give it a bit more time/effort than 4 sessions/2 months. 

Like others have said, if she's having a medical issue (physical or mental), that could take some time to sort out. 

Also like others have said, have you brought this up in therapy and what has her response been?  It's a totally different situation depending on what she says -- "F you, I hate sex and we're never having it" vs. "Omg I love you I just don't know why I can't handle physical intimacy right now."  Totally different scenarios and if she's reacting like my first example, then I would rescind all previous advice about giving it more time...

caliq

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #106 on: March 20, 2015, 10:47:07 AM »
Whenever I go to hold her in a hug to show Iím happy to see her home after a day at work or go to kiss her, she gets all defensive.

This right here. Wow.

Free yourself. Right now.

Maybe she just doesn't want to be touched without warning? From the OP's posts, it sounds like he believes he should be free to touch his partner from behind, with no warning. Touching is something that requires consent and asking permission. In the context of some relationships, there might be an overriding agreement that touching can be done without asking specific permission first, but that may not be what the OP's partner expects.

I am a bit disturbed by all the suggestions of "counselling" personally. It sounds pretty horrific to me to be faced with an implicit ultimatum of "either you let me have sex with you, or I break up with you". It would not be an exaggeration to say that, if she later does "consent" to touching, I would have serious doubts over whether the consent was given voluntarily or simply out of extreme pressure. To make a very provocative claim: Using counselling as a device to pressure somebody into sex could be akin to a sexual assault.

Um, wow.  No.  I agree with you that the OP's fiancee may not enjoy unexpected touching, and she has every right to not allow OP to sneak up on her.  However, you're incredibly off base on the nature of couple's counseling...

First of all, any halfway decent therapist will not allow a counseling session to become a situation in which ultimatums and extreme pressure are happening. 

Secondly, suggestions of seeking counseling, at least from me, are intended to provide both OP and his fiancee with a safe space to work out the WHY behind how they both are feeling about this issue.  Not a way for either one of them to "win" and get what they want in their relationship.  Couple's therapists aren't supposed to take sides and validate one member of the couple's opinion or preference; they're supposed to help both members of a couple reach agreeable compromises and work through their emotions/preferences/motivations/subconscious feelings about certain subjects.  If as counseling progresses, the couple realizes that they're incompatible, the counselor will help them transition out of the relationship in the least damaging way possible. 

Quince

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #107 on: March 20, 2015, 10:50:59 AM »
I do not see how "Sex or I leave" is sexual assault any more than "Do your share around the house or I leave" is slavery or "I want a future with/without children, or I leave" is taking control of someone else's reproductive choices. 

People get to make decisions. Just because you present someone with an unpleasant decision doesn't mean you are abusive. Threatening someone's physical safety is one thing.  Defining what you want your life to look like and inviting them to decide if they are in or out is another, entirely.  Of COURSE someone's emotional security is threatened by the prospect of a relationship ending. It's still OK to dump someone if you aren't getting what you want/need from the relationship.

I think counseling is recommended by everyone in this case because the hope is to be sure that what OP wants out of a potential marriage has been clearly communicated, and rebuffed with no attempt at compromise, before he jumps ship. Not to "pressure" someone into having sex that they don't want. If this is really something she doesn't want to change, then it's time to confirm that, and leave.

justajane

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #108 on: March 20, 2015, 10:52:06 AM »
@Cathy

I think what you are saying will make many on here uncomfortable, but I am nonetheless glad you wrote it. I have to push you though. Do you think counseling is ever indicated then? What about when other emotional needs are not being met in a relationship? Counseling is a way to air out grievances and hopefully bring two people closer together again.

If one side of a relationship can't expect the other side to change in any way, then all relationships are doomed.

I would, however, hope that counseling would revolve not around the OP's fiance agreeing to have sex however often he wanted. I don't imagine that is how it transpires. Rather, I think it would open up a discussion about how often they would be intimate in the future and that the result would involve compromise on both sides.

It is interesting how some on here expect a specific amount of sex regardless of the wishes of their partners. It reminds me of discussions I have read about the number of kids a couple might want and the notion that someone not wanting any more overrides the wishes of the individual who wants another or a first child. In that circumstance, the negative vote supposedly overrides the positive. In the case of sex, we seem to be saying the opposite. The implication is that having sex in perpetuity when you might not want to is supposedly required and not that big of a deal, whereas raising another child to please your spouse is too much to ask. 

Quince

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #109 on: March 20, 2015, 10:59:34 AM »
I expect sex in my relationship, and if my partner doesn't want to have sex anymore, then we do not want the same things, and need to see if we can come to some sort of agreement, or we part ways, hopefully without rancor.

Ditto on if I desperately wanted a second child, and he did NOT. I don't get to have sex/another child without his buy-in, but I am not bound to remain in a relationship that prohibits me from having things that are important to me. It does not make me a shitty person for not staying in a relationship that requires I surrender my priorities, and it does not make him a shitty person for not giving me what I want. It makes us two OK people with incompatible expectations from life.

Edit to change double sentence.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 11:01:37 AM by Quince »

ender

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #110 on: March 20, 2015, 11:12:57 AM »
If you are caught up on the "sex" thing, pretend it's something else.

One partner really, really likes walks to talk about "how was your day?" after work and feels incredibly close when having these conversations. The other only wants "serious" conversations and is completely and utterly unsympathetic towards the other's needs and desires for "light" conversation.

When talking about it, the other basically indicates they have no interest in trying to meet that need for the other, understanding they will constantly feel rejected and lonely if they don't have the need for "light" conversation met. They don't care about this need not being met and are completely ok with that situation - understanding them not wanting to attempt to have light conversation will result in the other feeling lonely and unloved.



charis

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #111 on: March 20, 2015, 11:20:28 AM »
There is nothing coercive about saying: these are my needs, if you cannot meet them, we need to part ways.  I sincerely doubt that the OP wants any part of a forced encounter with his SO.   To suggest this shows a profound lack of understanding/knowledge about the basic need for physical contact that humans are born with.  Unless your partner is willing to go without, denying him/her affection is cruel.

trailrated

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #112 on: March 20, 2015, 11:34:27 AM »
I do not see how "Sex or I leave" is sexual assault any more than "Do your share around the house or I leave" is slavery or "I want a future with/without children, or I leave" is taking control of someone else's reproductive choices. 

I think a huge part of the problem is that people focus on having sex too much rather than giving the other person a reason to want it. I think it is extremely important in a relationship but in this context it is framed as "what do I have to say to make sure he/she has sex with me" rather than what can I do to make myself someone that they want to have sex with.

If someone is nagging you to have sex it becomes a chore and something that you begin to loathe. If they nag more it makes it even less appealing. If you work on being someone that they want to have sex with it lifts the pressure. Maybe work out more, maybe do something to show them you care, maybe show them you appreciate and value everything they bring to your life. I think most people would be a lot more successful with that approach rather than pointing at a calendar saying it's been x amount of days, take your clothes off.

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #113 on: March 20, 2015, 11:37:54 AM »
Damn, breaking up with a life partner because they aren't interested in engaging in an arbitrary physical act with the same frequency as you would prefer? What about all the more important things in a relationship, like the common goals, the time you share together, and the history between you? Not to mention "love", assuming you believe in that. Why cast that all aside over an arbitrary physical act?

If you want sex, there are many ways to get it without a relationship. Maybe you could investigate whether your partner is okay with you having sex outside the relationship in order to satisfy that need, while the emotional exclusivity remains between you and your wife.

Some of the the replies here just blow me away. I suppose it's clearer than ever that I will never have a romantic relationship though.
This is not really about the sex, it is about compatibility. Intimacy, touching, sex are important to the OP...his partner will not give these to him and apparently she doesn't care to change (according to OP). Why on earth would anyone marry someone who does not share a core value that is important to you?  If marrying someone religious is important to you should you marry an atheist? If frugality is important to you should you marry a spendthrift? OP should be in a relationship with someone who will make him happy.  Maybe some people don't care about physical intimacy...but the vast majority do, including the OP. Sex and physical contact is not "arbitrary" to the OP. To say so dismisses his feelings and concerns. 

Another example. Lets say OP meets his partner and they talk for hours every day at first.  Everything is good. Six years into the relationship she never wants to talk any more. She will only talk for a minute or two a day and any time the OP tries to talk she refuses to engage. Should he stay with her because he shouldn't be concerned about the frequency and duration of such an "arbitrary act" like verbal communication?

Also maybe keeping the relationship and outsourcing sex would work for a few people, most want one stop shopping.  Would you stay in a relationship with absolutely no physical contact if this was important to you?

Quince

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #114 on: March 20, 2015, 11:39:24 AM »
Um...He has already decided what he wants out of a relationship. He COULD change his expectations, and counseling might get him to dial them back, but he doesn't have to. She doesn't either. If his idea of options is that he will stay in the relationship if she puts out on schedule, even if she's lying like a limp rag while they have intercourse...yuck, unless that's a kink they share. If it's "let's explore whether it would be possible to have more physical affection in this relationship." and they find out if they can reach a spot where they are both happy with it, that's something else entirely.

Sex is only irrelevant to a relationship if it is irrelevant to both people in the relationship.

I do not love organized religion. I will not treat people badly because of it, but if my partner "found god" I would divorce him.  Lots of people think that would be silly, but it is a thing that is important to me.

Some people are vegetarians, and will not live with someone who eats meat. I like meat, but I can still understand someone who might leave a relationship because of that incompatibility.

There is NOTHING WRONG with not wanting to have sex. But there is also nothing wrong, shallow, ridiculous, etc, about wanting sex and having it be an important component of a romantic relationship for a person. It DOES make it tough for someone who is aesexual to have a romantic relationship when people who like sex tie it up with their idea of a romantic relationship. That still doesn't make it wrong for all the people who like sex to make it part of their version of romance.

People who like useless gifts like flowers and jewelry as expressions of romance don't suck either,(though it would suck for me to be in a relationship with one of them) even though it isn't particularly Mustachian. It doesn't make them foolish or bad to leave an otherwise good relationship if a large component of what makes them feel loved/important/happy is not a part of that relationship.


dunhamjr

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #115 on: March 20, 2015, 11:50:14 AM »
Yes.
the end.

i feel myself getting pissy after a week.  cannot imagine only 2x per year.  even 2x per month and i would be in a horrible mood pretty much all the time.

edit:
i think most people would find it insanely hard to maintain a marriage where one partner wants that physical contact including frequent sex, while the other doesn't want any physical contact or sex unless it is on their terms and time schedule.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 12:11:30 PM by dunhamjr »

ender

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #116 on: March 20, 2015, 11:53:02 AM »
But that said, I don't see why you would choose to end a relationship over this in the first place. It's awfully presumptuous to assume that OP's partner wants him to "constantly feel rejected and lonely". I see no evidence of that in the narrative we've read. It seems to me that OP has a certain set of expectations, that he can touch his partner whenever he wants, including sneaking up on her with she is brushing her teeth, or grabbing her as she walks in the door after an exhausting day of work, all without asking for permission or obtaining consent.

Relationships have two people with different needs to varying degrees.

Healthy relationships involve both working to meet the other's needs. They do not have one partner basically shrugging off stated needs of the other and (from what we've read, at lesat) not even attempting to talk through or work through the differences. A healthy relationship has both working to understand the other's needs, understanding their own needs, and working together to meet their needs together as a couple. This does not appear to be happening in the OP's relationship.

And for what it's worth, people have different ways they receive/give love. For some people, hugs are incredibly meaningful to both give/get. Acting as if desiring physical contact and closeness is "wholly irrelevant to a relationship" is utterly ridiculous.

Moonwaves

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #117 on: March 20, 2015, 12:08:08 PM »
Take it to counseling and see if it can help. The chance of success is worth the time and money.

We have. Four appointments so far over two months.

Nothing has changed.

Umm...that's not enough time or frequency for counseling to be effective.  I would urge you to give it a bit more time/effort than 4 sessions/2 months. 
...
I agree with this. And I think calling off the wedding doesn't necessarily need to be the end of the relationship, so I might dial back a bit from thoughts of "can't tell her until I've packed my suitcase 'cos I'll have to leave immediately". Perhaps you could consider suggesting in your next counselling session that until you have worked through your problems, it would be a good idea to remove the pressure of a wedding. It does sound a bit like you had kind of made up your mind and were glad to get some feedback from people here that it'd be okay to break up with her but just thought I'd throw the idea out there of not necessarily going full-tilt at a break-up immediately.

Kiwi Mustache

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #118 on: March 20, 2015, 02:20:58 PM »
OP, you have never said whether she responded to your concern, in therapy or otherwise. What is the reason she has given for treating you like this? 

Frankly, at this point, I would just let her read this thread.

"I'm just not that into it" is her standard response. "I'm just not a touchy, feeley person"

Which goes full circle when I say it is extremely important for me to be able to hug and kiss and hold hands walking down the street, etc.

It's like someone who's favorite thing to do is go running or swimming. They "need" to do this to feel complete. Then one day, someone comes along and takes that away from you. You can still chat away with the person, you are friends, you cook meals and share the same house, but you always resent this person for taking that away from you, no matter how well everything else in life is going, that is the thing always on the front of your mind when you see this person. 

JLee

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #119 on: March 20, 2015, 02:24:45 PM »
OP, you have never said whether she responded to your concern, in therapy or otherwise. What is the reason she has given for treating you like this? 

Frankly, at this point, I would just let her read this thread.

"I'm just not that into it" is her standard response. "I'm just not a touchy, feeley person"

Which goes full circle when I say it is extremely important for me to be able to hug and kiss and hold hands walking down the street, etc.

It's like someone who's favorite thing to do is go running or swimming. They "need" to do this to feel complete. Then one day, someone comes along and takes that away from you. You can still chat away with the person, you are friends, you cook meals and share the same house, but you always resent this person for taking that away from you, no matter how well everything else in life is going, that is the thing always on the front of your mind when you see this person.

You have had a lot of great advice in this thread, but it appears that all indicators are saying that while you may be compatible as friends, you are not compatible as a couple.

DoubleDown

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #120 on: March 20, 2015, 02:57:32 PM »

It's like someone who's favorite thing to do is go running or swimming... but you always resent this person for taking that away from you.

It's far worse than that, though. Sex/intimacy is a key element of almost all romantic relationships; it's an absolute biological need for most of us, almost on par with eating, drinking, and sleeping; and it's an activity you can't ethically carry on with one anyone else, assuming you're in a traditional relationship like 99.9% of us. So, no one else besides your romantic partner can meet that need for you, unlike other needs for companionship, workout partners, talking, shared interests, political debates, drinking buddies, and so on.

I guess what I'm saying is I'm agreeing with you and then some, and there's no reasonable way to continue a relationship where this need of yours is being unmet. Hope you can work it out with her, but on the assumption you two are just on different wavelengths on this issue, good for you for taking the steps to recognize it and move on.

For what it's worth, I was not getting the level of sexual satisfaction I wanted in my first marriage. Now that I'm on my second marriage, it is 1 million percent better -- I would never go back to the way things were in marriage #1. There is life after this relationship, and probably a much better/more compatible one.

JLee

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #121 on: March 20, 2015, 03:12:05 PM »
In general I would agree that this relationship won't work out and most of the advice given above is good but I do want to make one comment:

Be conscious of how you're initiating the physical contact. DH has a habit of touching/caressing at the worst times. Giving me a hug from behind while I'm brushing my teeth would be a bad time as I'm likely to drool toothpasty spit all over myself. When I'm cooking or talking on the phone annoys me too. That being said I'm very much into physical contact/intimacy normally (it's one of my love languages) it's just a big turn off in the wrong situations.

There are certainly inappropriate times, but based on an earlier post I doubt that is the case:
Quote
Whenever I go to hold her in a hug to show Iím happy to see her home after a day at work or go to kiss her, she gets all defensive. Iíve brought this up over and over again at the counselling sessions and it is driving a wedge between us. Iíve read up on ďsexlessĒ marriages and it seems to be more common than people think. I just find it really difficult to live with someone who I find incredibly attractive but canít even kiss her without fear of being rejected and the emotional roller coaster that comes with it. She has said she just isnít an affectionate person but it is soul destroying when you go to hug or kiss someone and they flat out reject you time after time. Iíve tried not initiating touch but then I went two weeks without a hug, kiss goodnight, etc.

Metta

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #122 on: March 20, 2015, 03:44:43 PM »
There's a difference between an ultimatum and breaking up over incompatibilities. If you are fundamentally incompatible with your partner, then sure, breaking up is probably a likely outcome. But that's different from framing it as a choice that your partner can make.

I was once rejected by somebody for the stated reason that I was not interested in having sex. I don't know whether that was his actual reason. It may have been one of many reasons, but it's the the reason he chose to state when rejecting me. I can tell you how that made me feel. It felt horrible, like I would never be able to be loved by anybody, because the world fixates on arbitrary things that are wholly irrelevant to a relationship. Before then, I actually imagined that one day I might have a successful romantic relationship, but since then I've realised it's impossible and not worth the pain. It was a very difficult experience.

One of my best friends is asexual and has been happily married in a reasonably sex-free marriage for more than 25 years now. Early on the relationship required some intense negotiations and they settled on a fairly open marriage where he was free to have sexual relationships with others (but not intimate emotional relationships) and she was free to have platonic romantic relationships with others (but not sexual relationships). It was mysterious to me since I couldn't understand what a platonic affair was even after she explained it to me several times, but that's my problem not hers.

I say this to point out that it is not impossible to find what you want in the world. The hard part is knowing what you want, asking for it, and being willing to negotiate to meet both your own needs and your partner's. Don't give up on a loving asexual relationship if this is what you want. Just be aware that this is a kink that most people don't share. :)

stlbrah

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #123 on: March 20, 2015, 05:28:08 PM »
For fuck sake there is some ridiculous advice in here. People seem to be living under a rock. The OP is 27, he's not even in his prime yet and should not be worried about a "compromise" on this "arbitrary physical act." If he doesn't have some sort of extreme physical deformity or autism he will find another partner. Sure the breakup will be painful, but its only temporary. I see so many guys in late 20s and 30s who are unhappy because they are tied down from taking the path of least resistance.

I'm sure some people will be butthurt about this post, but if OP read it and considered it in any type of way, I made a positive difference.

smh
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 05:31:32 PM by stlbrah »

Wupper

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #124 on: March 20, 2015, 06:14:14 PM »
stlbrah- Right on, brother. I'm with you on this.

Spondulix

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #125 on: March 20, 2015, 07:18:24 PM »
I think counseling is recommended by everyone in this case because the hope is to be sure that what OP wants out of a potential marriage has been clearly communicated, and rebuffed with no attempt at compromise, before he jumps ship. Not to "pressure" someone into having sex that they don't want. If this is really something she doesn't want to change, then it's time to confirm that, and leave.
The goal of counseling isn't necessarily to stay together. It's also to help figure out if you don't want to be together, and to help with an exit strategy. At least that's what a good therapist does.

3okirb

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #126 on: March 20, 2015, 07:40:13 PM »
I would think you would know, but everything you describe sounds like an abuse victim.  You think there's something from her past she hasn't let you in on?

countdown

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #127 on: March 20, 2015, 08:26:57 PM »
Marriage is rough. Having kids together is rough. In my experience, 2nd time in, 3rd for DH, having a sexual bond is a huge help. Sharing a pleasurable experience, being vulnerable and trusting your partner makes up for spats over schedules or meal planning or whatever you bicker about. Being in a sexless marriage in your mid-20s sounds pretty awful. That said, my dh and I have drpped down to 1x/month more than once due to stress, pregnancy and postpartum.

windawake

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #128 on: March 20, 2015, 08:27:42 PM »
It sounds like the OP wants something different from what he has. I think it's totally fine to pursue counseling if you think that will make a difference. If you don't think it'll make a difference, and you know in your gut that this is a long-standing issue that won't be resolved, then don't waste your time.

I know that our societal expectations tell us that men want sex more than women, and I just have to say that every person is different. I've been in more than one relationship that's ended due to disparate sexual desires (ie. mine was notably higher than his). It totally sucks when you think that the person you're with is amazing, but they just refuse to take off their stupid clothes. There's nothing you can you do besides leave and look for someone more compatible elsewhere.

charis

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #129 on: March 21, 2015, 06:33:02 AM »
For fuck sake there is some ridiculous advice in here. People seem to be living under a rock. The OP is 27, he's not even in his prime yet and should not be worried about a "compromise" on this "arbitrary physical act." If he doesn't have some sort of extreme physical deformity or autism he will find another partner. Sure the breakup will be painful, but its only temporary. I see so many guys in late 20s and 30s who are unhappy because they are tied down from taking the path of least resistance.

I'm sure some people will be butthurt about this post, but if OP read it and considered it in any type of way, I made a positive difference.

smh

Most posters have already said this, repeatedly.  There are only small minority of posters who seem to feel that he should reconsider staying with his fiance.

Cinder

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #130 on: March 21, 2015, 07:31:05 AM »
There is much more than sex in a relationship based on love. Personally, I think sex is over-rated, and if I were in a sexless marriage, and as long as I knew that my wife loved me, I would still chose my wife without the sex and I would still be happy, because my wife is the most wonderful, kind, simple, gentle, loving, caring and attractive woman I ever met and I am 100 % sure the lack or absence of sex would not be a reason to leave her.

Sorry to say, but sex is only overrated to those who do not desire sex.  To those who do desire sex, it is anything but overrated.

It's been said that when sex is good (good as in both partners are happy and satisfied with status quo whatever that may be), it is 10% of the relationship.  But when sex is bad, it is 90% of the relationship.


I'm in a similar boat.  My wife and I have a pretty mismatched sex drive, and it causes a pretty terrible feedback loop - The longer I go without sex, the harder it is for me to be intimate without 'pushing' for sex.  She's a cuddler, she likes to just lay together, fall asleep or watch a movie together.  The problem is when I can't cuddle without something coming up (pun intended).

This either leads me to two things, either I just lay there miserable because my body is getting all ready to go but she's like 'but we just got comfortable!', or she is like 'if you HAVE to, go ahead'. 

I've warned her about it, I think for me if I go for more than 3 days without sex, I start to get agitated by things a lot sooner, and I become less receptive to her emotional needs, because I feel like my needs aren't getting met.  As you can imagine, when I start to get like this, it is exactly the opposite of what I should be doing to try to woo her and get her in the mood! 

One of the biggest things is that she's on the pill, and we've tried several different types.  The was one that she was miserable on, but had an ok sex drive, and the one she's on now, the only time she really has any drive is during the time she's on the placebo, but sex during that time is a no-go for her, so the only real good times are right on the edges of that week.  But if stressful work days, or other activities or things happen, sex isn't at the top of the priority list for her, so it usually goes by the wayside. 

caliq

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #131 on: March 21, 2015, 07:37:08 AM »
This is a bit of a thread jack but the topic seems to be coming up a lot -- for anyone with issues with hormonal birth control, you might try/have her try the copper IUD (Paragard).  I have a hormonal IUD and I've never had kids but it was still relatively painless to get put in.  I'm thinking of switching to the copper one because I think the hormonal one is causing other issues (mood changes, mainly) and from what I've seen it's the best alternative to hormonal birth control that doesn't involve a giant production every time you're trying to get laid...  And other than the possible hormone issues, I really really love the IUD -- it's way less stressful than worrying about a pill or other method.

justajane

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #132 on: March 21, 2015, 07:53:10 AM »
This is a bit of a thread jack but the topic seems to be coming up a lot -- for anyone with issues with hormonal birth control, you might try/have her try the copper IUD (Paragard).  I have a hormonal IUD and I've never had kids but it was still relatively painless to get put in.  I'm thinking of switching to the copper one because I think the hormonal one is causing other issues (mood changes, mainly) and from what I've seen it's the best alternative to hormonal birth control that doesn't involve a giant production every time you're trying to get laid...  And other than the possible hormone issues, I really really love the IUD -- it's way less stressful than worrying about a pill or other method.

Another perk of IUDs is that they don't increase your chance of a pulmonary embolism or female cancer like hormonal birth control does (a slight increase but still).

We have been perfectly successful with condoms combined with spermicide (also combined with the occasional withdrawal method if I think I am ovulating). I would take the added steps over decreased libido any day. But I can understand that this would be somewhat disconcerting for some. Up until now, an accidental pregnancy didn't seem like the end of the world. Now that we have three kids and the thought of another just about leads me to a panic attack, a vasectomy is already scheduled. 

Cinder

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #133 on: March 21, 2015, 08:05:53 AM »
This is a bit of a thread jack but the topic seems to be coming up a lot -- for anyone with issues with hormonal birth control, you might try/have her try the copper IUD (Paragard).  I have a hormonal IUD and I've never had kids but it was still relatively painless to get put in.  I'm thinking of switching to the copper one because I think the hormonal one is causing other issues (mood changes, mainly) and from what I've seen it's the best alternative to hormonal birth control that doesn't involve a giant production every time you're trying to get laid...  And other than the possible hormone issues, I really really love the IUD -- it's way less stressful than worrying about a pill or other method.

I'll continue the threadjacking here....

My Wife and I have talked about other options before, but whenever IUD comes up, she immediately says 'But I am very tiny' (note, she is, she was a premie and has never been over 90lbs in her life, but is physically fit and has a good physic, healthy, not very tall). Also, she always brings up the 'it could go though the uterus wall' situation. 

I'm not sure of the best way to bring this up with her to help her feel more comfortable about it.  If I get facts and statistics about the actual odds of this happening her eyes just glaze over. 

Part of the reason she disliked the one pill that she did still seem to have a decent sex drive on was because it made her period irregular and heavier.  She also worries constantly about Toxic Shock Syndrome b/c she knew someone who had it and almost died when she was young.  I've brought up Menstrual cups as an alternative to tampons before, but she won't even consider giving them a try. 

She tends to relate more to someone she knows well (other than me, haha) than seeing the hard data about things, and is usually very resistant to change in general. 


caliq

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #134 on: March 21, 2015, 08:13:13 AM »
This is a bit of a thread jack but the topic seems to be coming up a lot -- for anyone with issues with hormonal birth control, you might try/have her try the copper IUD (Paragard).  I have a hormonal IUD and I've never had kids but it was still relatively painless to get put in.  I'm thinking of switching to the copper one because I think the hormonal one is causing other issues (mood changes, mainly) and from what I've seen it's the best alternative to hormonal birth control that doesn't involve a giant production every time you're trying to get laid...  And other than the possible hormone issues, I really really love the IUD -- it's way less stressful than worrying about a pill or other method.

I'll continue the threadjacking here....

My Wife and I have talked about other options before, but whenever IUD comes up, she immediately says 'But I am very tiny' (note, she is, she was a premie and has never been over 90lbs in her life, but is physically fit and has a good physic, healthy, not very tall). Also, she always brings up the 'it could go though the uterus wall' situation. 

I'm not sure of the best way to bring this up with her to help her feel more comfortable about it.  If I get facts and statistics about the actual odds of this happening her eyes just glaze over. 

Part of the reason she disliked the one pill that she did still seem to have a decent sex drive on was because it made her period irregular and heavier.  She also worries constantly about Toxic Shock Syndrome b/c she knew someone who had it and almost died when she was young.  I've brought up Menstrual cups as an alternative to tampons before, but she won't even consider giving them a try. 

She tends to relate more to someone she knows well (other than me, haha) than seeing the hard data about things, and is usually very resistant to change in general.

I'm 5'2" and was ~115 when I got the IUD put in.  They gave me prescription Ibuprofen and two or three oxycodone or something similar; one to take before the appointment and the rest for afterwards.  It's really not any more painful than bad cramps or a pap smear.  I think period issues are a fairly common side effect with the Paragard (non hormonal IUD) so that might not be good :/  But there is also a new hormonal IUD that came out recently, or is about to come out, that is specifically designed for younger women who haven't had children -- it's a lot smaller than the other two so maybe that would ease her fears?  I personally think the hormonal IUDs are still waaaaay superior to hormonal BC pills. 

Also, ummm...I wouldn't get within 50 ft of a menstrual cup either so I don't blame her on that one ;P

netskyblue

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #135 on: March 21, 2015, 09:35:59 AM »
The OP's fiance might be asexual and not know it.  I was in my second marriage before I knew asexuality was even a thing.  I just thought there was something wrong with me.  I've always hated sex.  I like hugging, kissing, cuddling...except these things can frequently lead to sex, which makes me not want to do them.

For me, it's like this...imagine the grossest chore you routinely do.  Like scrubbing down the toilet (a gross toilet).  Not fun.  But at least you don't have to pretend it's this glorious thing.  You grit your teeth, hold your breath, scrub it and then it's clean and you don't have to do it again for another week. 

With sex, it's like you have to go through all the deceit of faking like you WANT it.  I hate every part of it - increased heart rate, slime wiggling around in my lady parts, nasty nasty nasty.  But having to pretend I love it to spare my partner's feelings is even worse.  So much easier not to have to go there in the first place.

amyable

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #136 on: March 21, 2015, 10:15:35 AM »
Where there's a will, there's a way.

If sex was really important to her and she had issues that made it painful, she would work on findings remedy to those issues.  I recently had a minor problem (turned out to be a polyp) that made intercourse painful, and I was more distraught than my husband!  I cried and cried because my primary care physician told me that I might just feel this way now that I'm older--forever!  We also practiced the "everything but" method until I figured out my problem.

If she was suffering from low libido, it would be something she worried about, too!  It seems like sex is just not a priority for her, which is O.K.!  But, if it is a priority for you, that's a huge, possibly unsolvable rift in your relationship.

MoneyCat

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #137 on: March 21, 2015, 12:57:17 PM »
Damn, breaking up with a life partner because they aren't interested in engaging in an arbitrary physical act with the same frequency as you would prefer? What about all the more important things in a relationship, like the common goals, the time you share together, and the history between you? Not to mention "love", assuming you believe in that. Why cast that all aside over an arbitrary physical act?

If you want sex, there are many ways to get it without a relationship. Maybe you could investigate whether your partner is okay with you having sex outside the relationship in order to satisfy that need, while the emotional exclusivity remains between you and your wife.

Barf.

Yeah, hippies sure are strange.

yyc-phil

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #138 on: March 21, 2015, 01:30:23 PM »
Damn, breaking up with a life partner because they aren't interested in engaging in an arbitrary physical act with the same frequency as you would prefer? What about all the more important things in a relationship, like the common goals, the time you share together, and the history between you? Not to mention "love", assuming you believe in that. Why cast that all aside over an arbitrary physical act?

If you want sex, there are many ways to get it without a relationship. Maybe you could investigate whether your partner is okay with you having sex outside the relationship in order to satisfy that need, while the emotional exclusivity remains between you and your wife.

Barf.

Yeah, hippies sure are strange.

I am an aspiring hippie. JP Sears is my guru.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oht9AEq1798

MoneyCat

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #139 on: March 21, 2015, 02:06:22 PM »
Damn, breaking up with a life partner because they aren't interested in engaging in an arbitrary physical act with the same frequency as you would prefer? What about all the more important things in a relationship, like the common goals, the time you share together, and the history between you? Not to mention "love", assuming you believe in that. Why cast that all aside over an arbitrary physical act?

If you want sex, there are many ways to get it without a relationship. Maybe you could investigate whether your partner is okay with you having sex outside the relationship in order to satisfy that need, while the emotional exclusivity remains between you and your wife.

Barf.

Yeah, hippies sure are strange.

These are ad-hominem attack based on "couple-privilege".

You don't have a right to attack relationship models that don't fit your own idea of what a "proper" relationship is.

http://www.robot-hugs.com/healthy-relationships/
http://www.robot-hugs.com/questions/

LOL!  This is a parody account, right?

MissMaggieMay

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #140 on: March 22, 2015, 06:21:50 AM »
I have been through this as the rejecter. I said most of the things your fiance said, and my partner said most of the things youre saying. During this time, I was on the pill (completely cut my libido), very stressed about work, exhausted every damn night. I had been through the most ill years of my life.  I had my weekends constantly overbooked and had nothing to help me relax. There was no time to just "be" with my partner, so I certainly didn't want to be intimate with him! For me, I can only be intimate when we are also being randomly cuddly during the day/week.

Couples counseling is the best thing you could possibly do. To get through it, we did the following:
Went to separate psychologists. We had started this as things went downhill, but we also went to a couple of sessions with the other person and their psychologist.
I got off the pill. He was very resistant to it, both for possibility of getting pregnant and my periods becoming more painful (the reason I'd gone on it), but I'd started other solutions for periods and we're very good with condoms now!
We started regular no-pressure touching, eg hugs, massages of head/back/feet, just holding each other.
We also improved the crap out of our lives. Cut back weekends to one, maybe two outings. I switched projects and offices at work. He finished his degree and has a temporary job. We spent a lot of time talking about everything and going on walks. It took a lot of effort from him when he felt he was just going to get rejected for everything (he kept doing sweet romantic things) and from me to start doing those things for him.

+1

I've read this blog and forum for a while now and never really  been compelled to post before reading this OP. I am going through something very similar right now, and I 100% agree with anatidaev. A change in the level of intimacy is never it's own problem; something else is always behind it.

Similar to your situation, we are unmarried but have been together for years. Although we go out and have some separate interests, we are absolutely each other's best friend. Our intimacy followed a very similar slow down to yours as well. Once or twice a month at first. Now, a couple years later, I don't even actively initiate and somedays I actively avoid intimacy. Sparing you all the details, lots of things in our lives have changed since I first met my significant other, but we don't love each other any less.

The way I saw it in my own relationship, I had two options: the relationship was worth the effort of figuring out the root issue and fixing or it wasn't. That goes for both me and my significant other. I decided it was worth it to me, so I approached my significant other about he. It took him a while to understand what I was really asking him. I think at first he just thought I wanted him to end the relationship, because I couldn't; he saw the problem as me just being unsatisfied in our relationship, and we should break up. Several long emotional talks later, and we're on the same page trying to get to the root cause and fix things. We're both reading "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman as a starting point (recommended by someone I know, and hopefully will give us a better idea of what's happening), and we've decided to start going to counseling.

In the end, if you don't both want to put in the effort to figure out what's really going on and fix it, then THAT'S the deal breaker, not the lack of intimacy. Just make sure that your significant other understands that you want to fix this (it sounds like you do), so that she has permission to eventually soften (sounds like she's very upset and defensive right now) and say something is off. I'm sure she's not happy constantly avoiding your hugs and kisses either. Avoidance is a defensive behavior, definitely not a sign that everything is A-Okay.

Wishing you the best!

mrshudson

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #141 on: March 22, 2015, 12:52:20 PM »
This is a bit of a thread jack but the topic seems to be coming up a lot -- for anyone with issues with hormonal birth control, you might try/have her try the copper IUD (Paragard).  I have a hormonal IUD and I've never had kids but it was still relatively painless to get put in.  I'm thinking of switching to the copper one because I think the hormonal one is causing other issues (mood changes, mainly) and from what I've seen it's the best alternative to hormonal birth control that doesn't involve a giant production every time you're trying to get laid...  And other than the possible hormone issues, I really really love the IUD -- it's way less stressful than worrying about a pill or other method.

I'll continue the threadjacking here....

My Wife and I have talked about other options before, but whenever IUD comes up, she immediately says 'But I am very tiny' (note, she is, she was a premie and has never been over 90lbs in her life, but is physically fit and has a good physic, healthy, not very tall). Also, she always brings up the 'it could go though the uterus wall' situation. 

I'm not sure of the best way to bring this up with her to help her feel more comfortable about it.  If I get facts and statistics about the actual odds of this happening her eyes just glaze over. 

Part of the reason she disliked the one pill that she did still seem to have a decent sex drive on was because it made her period irregular and heavier.  She also worries constantly about Toxic Shock Syndrome b/c she knew someone who had it and almost died when she was young.  I've brought up Menstrual cups as an alternative to tampons before, but she won't even consider giving them a try. 

She tends to relate more to someone she knows well (other than me, haha) than seeing the hard data about things, and is usually very resistant to change in general.

Continuing threadjacking, sorry. IUDs and pain here:

https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/is-an-iud-painful-if-so-how-can-i-reduce-the-pain/

Adding to the things one can do to minimize pain, stay with her during the procedure. No substitute for the show of support.

There's a lot of misinformation out there on IUDs. This is compounded by the fact that a majority of people who have problems with it turn out to be the ones that post online and in forums, so a casual reader looking to get information online will probably be misled by the troves of women complaining about their problems with the IUDs.

IUDs unfortunately got a bad rap for the expulsion/perforation problems in the 1980s (that too just one brand which was problematic). Since then there have been IUDs that are vastly safer and efficient to pretty much any method of contraception. A good OB-GYN should discuss these issues with the patient. Moreover, nearly no one recommends the procedure prior to an ultrasound to gauge the size of the uterus. Any uterus about 4 cm wide and 6 cm long should be sufficient. There's also Skyla, which is for smaller women:

https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/how-does-the-sklya-iud-compare-with-the-mirena/

(Note: This is not and should not be taken as medical advice. Consult with an OB-GYN).

sol

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #142 on: March 22, 2015, 01:41:59 PM »
I relied on various forms of birth control for all of my 20s, and the non-hormonal IUD is a winner in my book.  It's effective for years, it doesn't mess with a woman's hormones, and it's cheap.  Honestly I'm not sure why it's not everyone's first choice, within a sexually exclusive relationship.

mrshudson

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #143 on: March 22, 2015, 04:59:04 PM »
Honestly I'm not sure why it's not everyone's first choice, within a sexually exclusive relationship.

Three reasons why people shoot down IUDs a) pain during insertion, b) perforation/expulsion scare stories (usually anecdotal), and c) non-hormonal IUDs may not recommended by OB-GYNs in case of women having or predisposed to (e.g., genetically) menorrhagia/uterine fibroids. This is the one area where the hormonal IUDs actually score - a good majority of women have lighter periods 3-6 months post insertion of mirena/skyla which in itself might improve moods and sex drive. A smaller percentage stop having periods altogether on the hormonal IUDs.

But, the clear takeaway from several large scientific studies is that IUDs (hormonal/non-hormonal, depending on the woman's body) is possibly the best birth control there is. The pain/cramping can be managed by asking the doctor for a localized anesthetic if a woman's pain threshold is unusually low. 

bludreamin

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #144 on: March 22, 2015, 08:01:54 PM »
I'll put in my support of the IUD.  I ended up choosing the hormonal one and never had the issues I had with the pills (even low dose pills). (Potential TMi) it also helped so my periods are light to nonexistent - pre-IUD I'd be outta commission 1-2 days each period (reason I didn't go for the non hormonal copper one).

My only current concern is removal when my 5 years is up. But the insertion wasn't horrible (NSAID pain reliever and meditative breathing helped) so I'm hopeful. I did have some bad cramps the day of and after insertion but in the grand scheme so worth it.

Another reason I love my IUD? 5 years of practically free and worry-free birth control. The insurance I had through my employer at the time covered it - I just had to pay the $30 copay for the inpatient specialist visit. Definitely a deal to not have worry about taking a pill or having to schedule a pharmacy run.

Cressida

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #145 on: March 22, 2015, 08:26:57 PM »
N = 1 here, but regarding IUD insertion, it was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I've had it done twice now and the pain was the same both times (worse the second time, in fact, because the old one had to be removed as well as the new one inserted). It wasn't the cramping, although that was bad and lasted for hours; it was the actual (sorry) cervical breaching.

That said, I love it. I'll probably get a third one, although I will BEG for local anesthetic this time.

This is getting slightly off topic, but I thought I might as well share.  :P


bludreamin

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #146 on: March 22, 2015, 10:14:50 PM »
N = 1 here, but regarding IUD insertion, it was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I've had it done twice now and the pain was the same both times (worse the second time, in fact, because the old one had to be removed as well as the new one inserted). It wasn't the cramping, although that was bad and lasted for hours; it was the actual (sorry) cervical breaching

That said, I love it. I'll probably get a third one, although I will BEG for local anesthetic this time.

This is getting slightly off topic, but I thought I might as well share.  :P

Sorry to hear you had to go through that with local anesthetic, Cressida.  I should clarify that I received a local so beside the shot (which was unpleasant) I just felt an uncomfortable pressure during insertion).  I would have figured a local anesthetic was common practice.

Cressida

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #147 on: March 22, 2015, 11:47:41 PM »
N = 1 here, but regarding IUD insertion, it was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I've had it done twice now and the pain was the same both times (worse the second time, in fact, because the old one had to be removed as well as the new one inserted). It wasn't the cramping, although that was bad and lasted for hours; it was the actual (sorry) cervical breaching.

That said, I love it. I'll probably get a third one, although I will BEG for local anesthetic this time.

This is getting slightly off topic, but I thought I might as well share.  :P

Sorry to hear you had to go through that with local anesthetic, Cressida.  I should clarify that I received a local so beside the shot (which was unpleasant) I just felt an uncomfortable pressure during insertion).  I would have figured a local anesthetic was common practice.

Thanks for the sympathy. I'm glad to read this, because it means (1) local anesthetic is available, at least in some areas, (2) I'm not just a total wuss after all, and (3) not everyone had the same awful experience I did. I do totally recommend IUDs. Even if nothing else, the lack of periods (with the hormonal ones) is an awesome side effect.

Spondulix

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #148 on: March 23, 2015, 03:37:43 AM »
+1

Similar to your situation, we are unmarried but have been together for years. Although we go out and have some separate interests, we are absolutely each other's best friend. Our intimacy followed a very similar slow down to yours as well. Once or twice a month at first. Now, a couple years later, I don't even actively initiate and somedays I actively avoid intimacy. Sparing you all the details, lots of things in our lives have changed since I first met my significant other, but we don't love each other any less.

The way I saw it in my own relationship, I had two options: the relationship was worth the effort of figuring out the root issue and fixing or it wasn't. That goes for both me and my significant other. I decided it was worth it to me, so I approached my significant other about he. It took him a while to understand what I was really asking him. I think at first he just thought I wanted him to end the relationship, because I couldn't; he saw the problem as me just being unsatisfied in our relationship, and we should break up. Several long emotional talks later, and we're on the same page trying to get to the root cause and fix things. We're both reading "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman as a starting point (recommended by someone I know, and hopefully will give us a better idea of what's happening), and we've decided to start going to counseling.
Your relationship sounds like where my marriage was about 3 years ago. What someone wants out of a relationship at 24 can be totally different than 30 (and it truly is brain development - the frontal cortex is still growing into the early 30s). For DH and I in our 20s, our attraction was common interests (especially work). We spent a lot of time doing activities together (and had a great time), but more or less our relationship ran on automatic. My priorities started shifting, and that's when things got tough.

The word "intimacy" was just gross to me at 24. I was more interested in having a partner who was exciting and fun and a good friend (and all of that in bed, too). Around 30, I started craving connection, family, closeness/intimacy, and a deeper sense of belonging. I didn't recognize that's what it was for a couple years - I just knew that the relationship didn't feel right anymore. If I had to sum it down to one thing: we weren't nurturing our relationship. I feel bad for all the blame I put on him when I was doing an equally sh*tty job paying attention to or prioritizing the relationship. It's really easy to talk about redecorating or where you want to go for a weekend getaway vs why you've been having the same argument for 5 years. I read once that 90% of marriage issues don't have a solution - it's 2 people doing things differently, and we just differ on how to do it. So, I don't see the questions as, "Are we compatible? Is this a bad relationship?" Instead, I see it like, "something is broken in this relationship. Do you want to nurture it back to health?" Maybe it's worth it, or maybe it's not.

Gottman is great - another book you might be interested in is "Passages" by Gail Sheehy. It was written in the 70s, but is a really interesting look at the shift in mindset we go through in each decade of our lives, and different crises that we go through during those shifts.

Spondulix

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Re: Is No Intimacy in a Relationship a Deal Breaker
« Reply #149 on: March 23, 2015, 03:43:37 AM »
I relied on various forms of birth control for all of my 20s, and the non-hormonal IUD is a winner in my book.  It's effective for years, it doesn't mess with a woman's hormones, and it's cheap.  Honestly I'm not sure why it's not everyone's first choice, within a sexually exclusive relationship.
It can be really expensive. Even with Obamacare, health care providers aren't required to provide all types of birth control. The pill was free for me, but IUD was going to be over $1k! Lame.