I don´t want to have sex with him – And I don´t know what to do…
Thank you so much for all that you do. It’s so important.
I am having trouble with my sex drive. I don´t want to have sex with my husband. We have been together for five years. We’re in our late thirties and I love him despite quite a few problems with our communication.
He is suffering from some psychological problems. This causes him to get angry very easily. This also makes him feel that I blame him if I try and talk to him about things I find hard to talk about.
I do it anyway and therefore he is aware of all this, despite the fact that I think he’s forgotten about it long ago.
The fact of the matter is that I don’t feel like having sex with him because he’s unhygienic and he’s dirty. He just doesn’t turn me on when he walks around in old, greasy tracksuits and dirty underwear.
We don’t sleep in the same bed because he wishes not to, and to be honest, I agree with him on that because I think he’s becoming more and more disgusting (I’m not sure which word to use).
He never uses deodorant or any other fragrance even though I’ve encouraged him to do so and he has it all in the bathroom.
He doesn’t do anything about his clothes even though I’ve often spoken to him about the importance of wearing clean clothes – both in regards to our relationship but also in regards to the rest of the world; I feel like he might not be taken seriously when he looks like this.
We actually have sex several times a week. It always comes about the same way. He sends me a text message, whenever he pleases, asking me if I’m up for a quickie.
I say yes almost every time – not because I want to but because I wish to maintain our relationship, and well, because I do have a certain basic need for sex.
Then he’ll walk into the room and I’ll assume the doggy style position and wham bam and it’s done – very quickly!
It’s been this way for years and evidently, he’s happy with it. Most of the time it’s okay for me as well but I do miss the intimacy and the love. I’m the one who doesn’t want to cuddle or kiss him though.
I’m repulsed by him.
He has too much saliva in his mouth when we kiss and I can’t help but think of all the times his teeth have been smelling like they were rotten because he hasn’t brushed his teeth or flossed.
(It’s not just me – our daughter says it too: ‘’Dad, you smell.’’ It’s only when she tells him he’ll get up and floss until there’s be blood everywhere).
I’m embarrassed of him and I don’t want to be seen with him around our friends and family (this is also because of how he talks to other people and how he argues with my parents, for instance).
He knows all of this and still he does nothing about it.
I’ve tried buying new clothes for him and he gets really mad and thinks that it’s silly and that I should only buy second hand clothes. I’ve even thrown out quite a few of his old shirts with holes in them – he doesn’t know about this – but because he’s only got two pairs of trousers all filled with grease stains, I can’t do much about that.
For instance, when he eats chicken he’ll use his hands and get the juice from the meat all over his hands. He’ll then leave the table without even wiping his hands or even lick his fingers clean.
I often have to go around and wipe down tabletops and doorknobs. I often think about his disgusting habits when he touches me during sex. I feel dirty and disgusting when I’m close to him. For that same reason I rarely give him a hug or even sit close to him. He doesn’t ask me to really but this is probably mostly out of respect for me or because I’ve told him all these things before.
I just can’t understand why he’d risk our relationship. Well, to be honest I don’t actually think he’s capable of comprehending the actual consequences of his lack of self-care (and the lack of contribution to the economy, but that’s a whole other issue).
It’s as if he just listens to what I tell him, becomes furious or devastated for the rest of the day and then he forgets about it.
He refuses to try out any form of therapy because he doesn’t think anyone will be able to help him. Other times he’s also said that I’m the problem (I was in therapy for two years once because I had massive problems with my self-worth).
I don´t want to have sex with him – what shall I do?
I’m so upset that things have to be like this because I really do care about his beautiful thoughts, his big heart and his fight for a better society but we’re slipping away from each other and this is one of the reasons.
Is there anything I can do?
Do you think I sound like a prude? Am I being ridiculous?
What do I do about this whole thing?
Should I just continue on like this and learn to live with it (and he’ll have to as well) or should I find myself another lover or?
Do you have any ideas?
Kind regards from the woman in despair who was hoping she’d finally found the right person to grow old with 🙁
Dear Woman in Despair
Thank you, thank you, thank you for sending me this agony column question and let me just start off by saying that I don’t think you sound like a prude nor are you being ridiculous and I’ll try and help you the best I can.
If you sound ridiculous or like a prude – I think you should have a think about that yourself.
Say one of your girlfriends told you this story, would you think that about her? Or is that what you think about your daughter when she says ‘’Eeeewwwww dad, you smell’’?
The definition of ‘’a prude’’ or the definition of ‘’ridiculous’’ isn’t really any good here; the reality of it all is that you genuinely find his behaviour to be disgusting and gross and the result of this is that the two of you are slipping away from each other. This happens because he is dealing with some issues of his own and this – highly – affects how he is as a partner to you.
Because I’m actually suspecting that he doesn’t know this. You Know… Like REALLY knows. I mean, he doesn’t really realise that the two of you are slipping away from each other.
When you repeatedly agrees to a quickie – even though you don’t want to – you’re actually showing him that it’s still fine for the two of you to have sex despite the fact that you find his behaviour revolting.
I mean, you’re at the point where you’re actually repulsed by him and my first advice to you is to stop agreeing to having sex immediately.
There are two points to this:
- It is his behaviour that’s disgusting – NOT him (I’m assuming that it hasn’t always been like this, that he USED to be more hygienic and better at looking after himself!?)
- We teach other people how they should treat us and yes, in this particular case I know you time and time again say ‘’I think that’s disgusting…’’ but YOUR actions don’t change. YOUR behaviour stays the same.
There certainly isn’t much action and consequence going on here and I honestly do believe that this is why the problem continues – among other thing.
You have to walk the walk and make him understand the consequence of his actions – “I don´t want to have sex with him”, you tell me – That is a clear consequence of “some kind of actions”.
You have to spell it out for him again and again.
When you do X, Y happens and Z is the result.
Spell it out for him again and again.
When we come across ‘’things’’ in life that bother us, we have three options:
- We can try to change the situation. (You’ve tried that too – that didn’t work either – but keep on reading, I do have some advice for you!)
- We can change what we think about the situation. (I’m sure you’ve tried this – that doesn’t work)
- You can remove yourself from the situation. (You don’t want to do that because you love him and all the other amazing things that he is and what he (also) gives).
You tell me that he has some issues mentally…
I, of course, don’t know what these problems are.
However, what I do know is that mental problems you can do something about, and how he’s behaving is a very clear indicator that he’s not well.
Both his behaviour when it comes to personal hygiene but also how he erupts and gets angry and even his almost depressive state when you try and talk to him and also how he interacts with other people.
(Again, I’m assuming that all this is something that’s happening because of his psyche and that this isn’t how he’s always been).
I’m also assuming that he loves both you and your daughter and because of that, I don’t believe that he’d just leave you if you put some pressure on him. And by pressure, I genuinely mean that you need to help him get some help. You’re telling me that he doesn’t want any help.
But what if you demanded it?
What if you say:
‘’Honey, I love you SO much and I just want what’s best for you. I miss intimacy and love and I can see that you aren’t well. I can’t stand seeing the man I love so much and the father of my daughter feel so terrible.
I want to ask you to get some help. I want to be there with you – all the way – and help you find a competent psychologist who can help you feel good again. I’ll come with you too if that’s what you need.
I just can’t live with a man who is so down in the dumps and who doesn’t do anything about the problems, REGARDLESS of how much I love you.
If you don’t seek help I have to reconsider our relationship and I’ll have to figure out whether this is something I can live with for the rest of my life.
It’s not that I want to ‘’threaten’’ you, or an empty threat in any way. This is not what this is about at all. This is about YOU not being well and how that affects us and how we are as a couple and I actually don’t think I can live like this for much longer. So please… Please seek help or let me help you find some help?’’
Will he get angry?
But you should do it anyway because, frankly, you can’t stand the alternative.
Let me paint you a picture!
If you tell him this and he gets help, come spring – when the first flowers begin to bloom – you could actually feel significantly better and you could start to have your happy, energetic (and clean) husband back. A husband who’s – slowly but steady – working on feeling better about himself.
And then EVERY SINGLE DAY you’ll have to check in with him and ask him whether he has an answer for you; does he want to get help or not.
You have to be EXTREMELY persistent.
Not just for your own sake but oh my, for HIS sake too! The way you describe him to me it sure sounds like he, a long time ago, lost his way and doesn’t know how to help himself anymore.
And sometimes in relationships, things are like this. And when things are like this we most certainly and definitely have to take each other’s hands and help these people get help.
Is it annoying?
Of course it is.
But… that’s the reality and that’s life.
We can’t do much about it other than do what’s the most sensible thing in the given situation. In this situation it certainly sounds like you have to help him get some help.
It might turn out that he won’t budge an inch.
And if that’s the case, then you’ll have to decide whether or not you’ll continue to be a part of the relationship and whether you can accept the situation or not.
In regards to you throwing his clothes out, I’m thinking: don’t.
They’re his clothes and they’re not for you to throw out – even though you’re about to explode with frustration, throwing his clothes out won’t solve a thing. He still doesn’t brush his teeth, still doesn’t change his jocks etc.
But again… you absolutely HAVE to do EVERYTHING in your power for him to realise and fully understand how serious this is. As soon as you ‘’let him be mad and forget about it’’, you’re the one you’re letting down – and him too really. If his behaviour really comes from him just feeling really freaking bad about himself, then he needs help.
Let me rephrase that actually: if that’s the case, then YOU have to do everything in your power to help him. This is the only way you can look yourself in the eyes and say: ‘’I’ve done everything I could do.’’
At the same time, you have to remember to look after yourself and you have to make sure your boundaries aren’t being overstepped.
You have to lead and be a good example and make sure you’re not just talking the talk: it’s time to walk the walk.
Put it into words again and again, tell him what’s bothering you and try and come up with solutions and ways for the two of your to deal with this together and move on from it.
He needs to know where you stand.
And he has to know what you’re missing, what you long for, what you wish for, what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, what you’re willing to put up with and – last but not least – what you’re NOT willing to put up with.
All of this, you have to show him in a loving but certain way.
Insist on it.
Before it actually IS too late and you one day pack up and leave without looking back simply because you’ve HAD ENOUGH.
That day it won’t matter if he gets help because you’re already feeling clarified with it all and have been for a long time; you would’ve already given up hope and then it’s too late.
A very wise woman once said: ‘’Sometimes your partner has to see the boxes in the hallway before they realise the seriousness of the situation.’’ Again – my point isn’t that you threaten him.
Not at all.
My point is that you HAVE to do more and actively pursue what you want.
All the best and lots of hugs
★ Have you been in this situation? What did you do/what are you doing about it? How have you dealt with living with a partner with mental issues? I’ll love reading your comment, your good advice and your experiences ❤
*Please remember to keep a nice tone. ALL negative comments will be deleted immediately; I wish to create a positive and supporting space, where we can help each other and because of this I have a zero tolerance policy to rudeness, condescension and negative inputs.