I wish sex didn’t feel like a duty

What question do you have about your own love life? Send your letter to [email protected] or fill out this form.

Hello,

My husband and I have been married for eight years. He is a true romantic and very respectful. He is a great husband, father and provider. I love our family, my two kids, and I love him...but I don't think I'm in love with him. I'm not attracted to him physically at all actually. He is 11 years older and he is overweight. He thinks I'm the hottest woman alive. I keep my looks up and he always wants to be all over me. It’s kind of smothering. I have no interest in having sex with him.

It’s frustrating to him and he feels unloved and unwanted. I hate that I don't share his feelings for intimacy because everything else in our family is great. We are very family oriented and like watching movies, skating, vacationing etc. I cook every night for him and the kids. I love him, I just don’t want to be intimate with him because I'm not attracted to him. Besides the sex involves a lot. Candles, certain lighting, music just to get started. I don’t want to do that stuff most of the time. I'm usually tired from cooking, cleaning, the kids stuff – plus, I'm in college while taking care of a family. I would like him to be assertive early morning and we just get busy, without all the frills, and get it over with. I've told him that before but he don't listen. I have energy in the morning but he sleeps late. I don't know what to do. If we could be married but never have sex, I’d perfectly fine with that, but I know men need sex. I understand that. I wish this was easier and fun ... and that it didn't feel like a duty. Please help.

– Not in the mood


I'm going to recommend couples counseling, yet again, for today's letter, because there's a lot to talk about. It's not just about sex and how you like it. It's about schedules, child care, your degree ... understanding of time, in general. A professional counselor might be able to moderate a conversation about respect and needs. You've told your husband how this could work for you – how you might even like it – but he doesn’t seem to be compromising. You've asked him for mornings and you're still getting candles later in the day. What's another way of doing this?

Also, I think you need to process whether the "in love" stuff can ever come back, and what life would look like without kids. Do you want to be spend any time with your husband outside of family activities? How might you be able to bond without distractions? Why did you choose him as a romantic partner to begin with? These are things to talk about, with or without him in the room. Someday, it'll be just the two of you again.

You're busy; that is clear. But please don't push all of these questions to the side. Again, removing sex from the equation doesn't clean up the entire mess. You’re with someone who wants a partner in life, not just in your household. Ask him to do the work with you to figure out whether that can happen again.

– Meredith

Readers? Can people sustain this kind of relationship? Should they?