Dear Thelma: My husband won't have sex with me


  • Family
  • Sunday, 10 Mar 2019

I've known my husband since we were young and we were lovebirds for five years before we tied the knot. Before marriage, we always argued but would always go back to being on good terms after that.

About a year into our marriage, my husband began to act weird when it came to intimacy. We had arguments about this issue of him not touching me at all for months. But all he said was that I think too much.

I didn’t have any thoughts of him having another woman outside. I just wondered why a man would not touch his wife and why he refused to let me touch him too.

I really struggled about this for a year and after that, I felt like leaving him. But I can’t do it. I do not have the courage to do anything about it, whether it is divorce or separation. 

Now that our age is increasing every year, I am really looking forward to having my own child. Besides this, he also gives excuses every time I make travel plans with him. But when I go with others, he will put me on a guilt trip.

I feel so tired in this relationship and I really want to leave. The problem is, he is my financial supporter most of the time. I do not know what to do. I hope you can give me the best advice. Thank you.

Dilemma

There appears to be several issues here: Sex, fertility, communication, money and power. We’ll go with the last issues first, the money and power.

My dear, you are an adult woman. Earn your own money and be financially independent. There is no reason for you to be trapped in unhappiness.

The question is, are the issues that worry you so bad that you need to end your marriage? When I read your letter, I wondered whether you do secretly suspect an affair. Men who cheat sometimes go off their wives and take their lovers on business trips.

My other take was a kinder one: Too much frustration and bad communication messing up a relationship.

As I’ve covered the topic of lovers recently, (I think my husband cheated on me but I still love him, Feb 10, 2019; Husband feels no shame about having a mistress, Oct 14, 2018) I’m going to answer this letter on the second take.

Communication is a major issue. You have to guess at why he doesn’t want sex, and he guilt-trips you. That’s not good. You both need to learn to open up and talk honestly. Buy some self-help books on this issue. Take a couples workshop – together.

Your love life and your desire to have a baby are two different things, but related, so we’ll put them into one.

From your letter, I can’t tell if your courtship included sex or not. If it was chaste and you only had sex during that first year of marriage, you may have different sexual styles or different libidos.

But, if you had six years of a good sex life, followed by an abrupt break, it’s less likely to be libido or style. Apart from the dark scenario above, common reasons include stress, physical illness, erectile dysfunction, difficulties in communicating needs, and more.

Again, you need to talk openly to each other. When you do, remember that intimacy includes cuddling, kissing, and other non-penetrative activities. So, there is lots of room for give and take. The fact that you’ve been friends since young should help, but as these issues are tricky, be very gentle and respectful to each other.

Also, and this is purely speculation on my part, are you both set on being parents? Because if it’s just you, he may be staying away because he’s not ready to be a dad.

Too many men feel they have to carry the whole household: Food, rent/mortgage, and a gazillion other payments. It’s scary stuff and as men often suffer from the false belief that they need to be “in charge”, some are too shy to speak out about their feelings.

In short, you need to know more before making an informed decision. Once you learn to talk openly, it may be that you resolve your difficulties. Or, you may decide that you are fundamentally incompatible and that the marriage can’t work. If you decide to split, don’t despair. You can both start again.

It’s not easy to untangle all these threads, and you’ll have to consider and possibly change your attitudes and beliefs. If reading up isn’t enough, talk to a therapist. I do wish you lots of luck.


Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help.  E-mail star2.thelma@thestar.com.my or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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