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Wedding Woes

That 10% is 100% of the problem.

Dear Prudence,

My wife has sworn off sex since our son was born. (He is 3½ now.) She refused to discuss the matter after we went to see a doctor. Her words: “I am not broken.” I love her. I love our son. I love our life. I don’t want to cheat, but I have a sex drive, and kisses and cuddles are not enough. So, I look at porn and masturbate sometimes. I forgot to lock the door once, and my wife walked in. She was disgusted and described me like I was a sexual deviant. She wanted me to never look at porn again, and I asked her if she wanted a divorce, which made her look at me like I had just slapped her. I told her I love her and our son, but I didn’t sign up for celibacy when we got married. She started to cry and fell over apologizing, but the issue is still there. I am banging my head against a wall here. She doesn’t want to go to counseling again. I am happy with my life 90 percent of the time, but I know that the 10 percent that holds sex is going to break up my marriage. What are my options here?

—Porn Breaking Point

Re: That 10% is 100% of the problem.

  • First I'd start off by suggesting that she seek the advice of her physician.   If this is someone who had a normally healthy sex drive and this started when he was born, I'm thinking that there could be some PPD happening.

    I'd also suggest marriage counseling as a couple.   Because while she goes through this it's affecting both of them. 

    Hopefully she is open to this so he doesn't have to divorce her.    


    mrsconn23OliveOilsMomcharlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • Yes, I wonder if she had a trauma during her delivery or something. It sounds like they were having sex before. She should as least be open to addressing the problem and getting some help.
    image
    mrsconn23OliveOilsMomOurWildKingdom
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Also curious about birth control use. Because if LW didn’t “believe” in it, and the wife had a traumatic delivery, that would make me swear off sex too. Not that anything like that was hinted at in the letter, but I’ve known couples that’s happened to. 


    image
    charlotte989875short+sassyInLoveInQueensOurWildKingdom
  • ei34ei34 member
    2500 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think LW's reaction to catching him masturbating/with porn were unfair.  I ditto personal and couple's counseling.  It's tricky that she doesn't want to go back.
    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • eileenrob said:
    I think LW's reaction to catching him masturbating/with porn were unfair.  I ditto personal and couple's counseling.  It's tricky that she doesn't want to go back.
    This is why I think *if* they had a healthy sex drive and she previously never thought it was for procreation only then I think this is a sign of issues in her mental health.  

    Lack of sexual desire,  changing to not like the same things she previously did and having this coincide with the birth of a child tell me that there may be something that's wrong at a chemical level.   And PPD can be the suck.
    ei34OurWildKingdom
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited April 12
    The fact that she went straight to, "I'm not broken," speaks volumes.  I can't imagine how pregnancy can affect so many things about your self image and worth and hormones still controlling things.  But she needs therapy.  

    The conversation has to continue.  He's going to deliver an ultimatum.  Maybe not this time, but eventually, he'll mean that ultimatum and he'll divorce her, if she doesn't seek help.  I really think the ball is in her court here.  It's obvious by, "I'm not broken," and her reaction to his method of taking care of himself, that she has thoughts and feelings too.  I don't think either of them are wrong, but her refusal to do anything about hers will lead to divorce.  BTDT.
    mrsconn23OurWildKingdom
  • Definitely counseling. 

    She sounds in denial about her issue, whether it is hormonal, emotional, physical, or whatever. She has to know there is an issue but she is burying her head in the sand and pretending it isn’t there. Which is a common (but unhealthy) coping mechanism. While no one should have sex if they don’t want to, physical closeness is so important in a relationship.
    OliveOilsMomOurWildKingdom
  • mrsconn23 said:
    banana468 said:
    eileenrob said:
    I think LW's reaction to catching him masturbating/with porn were unfair.  I ditto personal and couple's counseling.  It's tricky that she doesn't want to go back.
    This is why I think *if* they had a healthy sex drive and she previously never thought it was for procreation only then I think this is a sign of issues in her mental health.  

    Lack of sexual desire,  changing to not like the same things she previously did and having this coincide with the birth of a child tell me that there may be something that's wrong at a chemical level.   And PPD can be the suck.
    I am completely sympathetic to her and any PPD or other mental health issues, but she's closed herself off to her H and determined the problem is not her because she's 'not broken'.  She won't entertain help.  So that leaves LW in a terrible position, but he can only decide for himself at this point since she's less than interested in trying to fix it. 
    Oh I totally agree.   This may lead them down the road to divorce.

    But I'd seek therapy also because if I felt that there was such a drastic change then where would that leave you in custody arrangements?    

    If she refuses to address this the marriage won't survive.   But if this is a deeper issue then I'd have a problem leaving my child with someone who refuses to be introspective too. 
    Casadena
  • LW says that she won't go to counseling. I know this sounds harsh, but he should leave. She won't go to therapy, she's sworn off sex, AND she freaked out at him watching porn? You can't fix a marriage if one person insists they're not broken and won't get help. 
    Agreed!  To me that is the saddest and worst thing about this letter.

    It's one thing for a couple to have a major problem and at least work toward fixing it/compromising/trying to understand each other's POV.  But she's holding her finger up to block out the sun.

    I can't help but wonder if the wife might have some sexual hang-ups going on, because there are sure are a lot of those aimed at women in our society, smh.  Maybe consciously or subconsciously she's thinking "good girls don't talk about sex" (she won't talk to her H about this problem), "sex is sinful" (overreaction to H's porn use), "sex is for procreation only" (LW implied sex was fine, until after their baby was born).
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    charlotte989875climbingwife
  • Get a divorce now, or get a divorce later. Those are the options. 
    MesmrEweei34mrsconn23
  • LW says that she won't go to counseling. I know this sounds harsh, but he should leave. She won't go to therapy, she's sworn off sex, AND she freaked out at him watching porn? You can't fix a marriage if one person insists they're not broken and won't get help. 
    Agreed!  To me that is the saddest and worst thing about this letter.

    It's one thing for a couple to have a major problem and at least work toward fixing it/compromising/trying to understand each other's POV.  But she's holding her finger up to block out the sun.

    I can't help but wonder if the wife might have some sexual hang-ups going on, because there are sure are a lot of those aimed at women in our society, smh.  Maybe consciously or subconsciously she's thinking "good girls don't talk about sex" (she won't talk to her H about this problem), "sex is sinful" (overreaction to H's porn use), "sex is for procreation only" (LW implied sex was fine, until after their baby was born).
    That's also why I'd love to know if they had an active sex life when they weren't actively procreating.  Or were these hang ups presented before? 

    Because if these are weird hang ups then he's going to have a divorce and a child that will be raised by parents who have two different thoughts on what they think is correct.

    If she didn't have these hang ups before then they're going to be co parenting but I'd question more about her emotional health if he sees this as a major change and she refuses to do anything about it.   That's where I'd push for divorce AND more custody. 
    short+sassyCasadenacharlotte989875
  • I can understand swearing off sex for a while after L&D...  JS...  That said, she's not broken, but she does need some counseling because either she's equating sex only for the purpose of procreation or she doesn't believe that Moms can also be the object of their husband's sexual desire.  Both VERY VERY common!  Birth trauma also could be a complicating factor, but even women who have very difficult pregnancies and deliveries don't typically never-ever.  

    He's in the right to ask her to seek counseling... and yep - that 10% is 100%, he didn't sign up to be a priest, he signed up to be a Dad and Husband!
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    short+sassyOurWildKingdomJen4948
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