We all know the truth: when the sexual health dies in a relationship, that’s where a lot of the other day-to-day issues that you could choose to deal with lovingly become things that grate on your nerves to an extent where you just can’t. do. it. anymore. I’m not going to lie; this is one of the areas in my marriage where I have totally and utterly failed. Weight gain, breastfeeding off and on for 6ish years, the stress of raising a family, and a rollercoaster of anti-depressants with sexual side effects all but ruined me. I’m ashamed to admit that we became one of those couples that engaged intimately maybe 3-4 times a year.
Sadly, while my body and mental health have started bouncing back over the past year or two, my sexual attraction to my husband has never found it’s way back. I don’t know how to fix this. I’ve read articles, I’ve consulted friends about how they survived their “rough patches”, and I’ve tried to follow the “fake it till you make it” philosophy of just “doing it more even when you don’t want to will make you want to more”. Negative.
I mean, don’t get me wrong…I *want* to more. And I think about sex about as much as any red-blooded American 17 year old boy. Or at least lately it feels that way. It’s just not about the person it should be…some days the idea of intimacy with him is the biggest turn off. Sometimes I don’t understand what’s wrong with me. I see single women all the time who describe all of the qualities they’re looking for in a man, and honestly I have to admit I have a good one overall. He somehow still finds me sexy even in the moments where I can barely look at myself naked. The idea of cheating would never cross his mind for any reason. He cooks, cleans, and tries his best to be a good parenting partner (even if sometimes it feels like a hassle for him to do the things I usually just handle without him even knowing).
It’s just that the more time that passes, the more I feel like it’s not what *I* want or need. This would be so much easier if there were clear signs of verbal/emotional abuse or cheating. I know that is a completely horrible thing to say, but part of me feels like I’m throwing away what others would perceive as “a good thing” over nothing but my own personal hang-ups. Is my self-esteem so low that I feel like I don’t deserve “a good man”? Is my heart so cold and dead and black now that I would just rather be alone than have to smile and fake my way through a relationship that is comfortable at best, and wholly unfulfilling at worst? Am I just overwhelmed at that feeling of “never being alone”? Sometimes when I’m driving home I pray for bad traffic, just so that I can spend more time alone in the car, singing and crying and trying not to pass my exit and keep driving until I’m alone at my parents’ beach house and no one can contact me for a few days.
Even so, when I do get those little “breaks” from reality, when I return to real life it’s a horrendously jarring experience. I feel like I’m retreating so far into my daydreams sometimes that I just can’t experience reality in a positive way anymore. I know none of this is healthy; I know all of this is my fault. I just don’t know how to fix it, or if I even want to.