Can this reader’s marriage be saved? Amy Daves tries to help him sort it all out.
Can a sexless marriage to a very late-discovering lesbian be saved? After 33 years of marriage, with sex never very satisfactory, very low desire on her side, she came out to herself and to me as a lesbian. So a low sex marriage has become a no-sex one.
She’s not looking elsewhere, but her long struggles against her same sex desires seem to have killed all desire. And if she were to re-awaken desire, it would be for another woman, not for me.
So, can I find a way of coming to terms with a sexless marriage, and close to zero hope of change in the future? We’re good friends still, talk, cuddle, share a good deal. And we’re both doing an Imago course together. I’m in solo therapy, but she’s given up on couples therapy and sex therapy and solo therapy. But there are times when I feel like taking a long walk and never coming back.
There are two answers I want to offer you. First, two consenting adults can agree on any sort of arrangement no matter how unconventional and make it last, even happily, if both are committed and remain trustworthy and open.
There is a marriage therapist in Auburn WA named Josh Weed who identifies as a homosexual but who lives a heterosexual lifestyle as he is married to a woman and claims to be faithful to her. You might be interested in reading some of his writing online.
Second, statistics aren’t in your favor. But you are not a statistic. You are an individual. Statistics will say that your decision to remain celibate will be a challenging goal, as humans are sexual beings. It is not impossible, however. Many have made such a decision and successfully lived out their lives without sex. Your unique challenge, though, is that you are married, and there is a strong social expectation that married couples will be sexual.
Resentment can be a burden if not dealt with swiftly.
Trust is also a consideration.
Significant openness will be a must in order to maintain trust within a committed relationship where one or both perceive they are being denied a basic urge. This leaves you both at high risk for infidelity. Statistically, sexless marriages struggle in ways that marriages bound by physical intimacy don’t.
It all comes down to:
- What are you both willing to give up?
- Does the cost outweigh the perceive cost of ending the relationship?
- Get really clear with each other about expectations and what elements are not likely to change.
Your mental health matters.
Email [email protected] with your marital struggles and one of our therapists can help.
Photo: Tony Alter/Flickr