I am a married physician settled in the US. I have 3 kids. I always had relationship problems with my wife. She is emotionally expressionless. When it comes to intimacy, in 24 years of married life, she has never ever initiated the act, or even said anything or acted romantically. In our bedroom, she turns to the wall and acts as if she’s fallen sleep when I get in bed. When I feel like being intimate, I ask her and she hardly replies after 2nd or 3rd call as if waking from sleep and reluctantly comes to my side of the bed. It has really put me off and made me frustrated. I do not feel I am oversexed, but I do need good sex once in a while. When we have sex, she at times does it well and enjoys it, but again she is very restrained. I just wish for her to talk to me in bed, coming close to me and hugging me… putting her head on my shoulder or chest…
She even never initiates talking in the car, when we are on a long drive. I have talked with her multiple times to explain the problem but she just does not do it. She is otherwise very good at home and taking care of kids and me and I have no problems there.
A nurse, who was a good friend and I discussed my relationship problems with her earlier, became my patient. We chat a lot, meet and talk for some time frankly. She is also married with kids. But lately we have developed a physical relationship. I just feel addicted to chat and text her as she is very responsive to replies, listens to my problems and we just share. She has some of her own problems but not of this kind, which made her a good match with me. We are both finding solace in each other’s company. When she tells me she had sex with her husband, it starts a strange jealousy and possessiveness in me about her. We have even talked about it also. She very intelligently explained that we have to live our own lives and yet meet like friends and take it from there.
I have found a good rescue in her shape and mostly would like to talk with her about anything but during the process we do kiss, hug and made love a couple of times.
I do feel bad about it and want my wife to get better and come to her par, but despite having discussed with my wife a few times, I have not been able to achieve it. When I see other couples giggling and joking with each other, I just feel bad. Even this nurse friend has shared a few videos of messing and teasing her husband, that makes me feel internal emptiness and a sense of deprivation. My wife never fights for her place in my life, never shows that possession of me, she would even sit on the back seat and let one of our children sit next to me when I am driving.
Mallika Pathak says:
You’re in a tough spot: Being in a sexless marriage takes a toll on people. I’ve talked about it previously and you will be surprised at the huge number of marriages that are missing passion and intimacy. It’s not unnatural for you to feel like something is missing, because it definitely is missing.
My recommendation: But having said that, my first recommendation would be to try and terminate the current relationship with your patient. As a therapist, I’m not supposed to give you instructions/make you do something, but the concern here is that in most settings, it is considered permanently out of bounds to date a patient. It leads to unnecessary complications and might jeopardise your practice as well. I understand that you’re seeking solace and you’re getting the same from her, but it’s not worth putting years of your efforts and practice to risk.
Therapy: I understand that you might have tried ways to talk to your wife about this issue. Have you tried marital and sexual therapy? They have greatly benefited many couples and I’m sure you’re aware of its help in mending and repairing marriages that need some working on. I appreciate that you want your wife to be more involved and are willing to seek help. For dealing with your current feelings of emptiness and loneliness, I would recommend that you visit a trained Mental Health professional. They will help you process your emotions and understand ways in which you can work on this marriage from your side. About wanting your wife to fight for her place in your life, have you been straightforward and mentioned this? She may have gotten a little too comfortable in the relationship and doesn’t feel the need to assert her space any more. It’s probably time to look at the relationship with a new perspective, for both you and her.
Ask yourself a few questions which might help you understand your marriage. Is it only the sexual incompatibility or are there more areas where you feel a lack of connect? Is she the kind of person you can spend the rest of your life with? What kind of changes, apart from the sexual involvement, would you expect from your wife to make this marriage more satisfying to you? Answer these and you might find some clarity. Find time beyond work to indulge in some hobbies.
Please do not hesitate to ask for any further help from me.