How do you live with someone who doesn’t find you attractive?

I remember reading something in 2amsomewhere’s blog that resonnated with me. Lots of what he write resonnates, but this was particularly powerful.

He said he simply could not be with someone who found him so unattractive. Or something like that.

Being made to feel disgusting and unattractive has been a major theme of my marriage and I’ve seen it in others as well. The train wrecks that I collect in my blogroll are almost all suffering from this dynamic in some way. C-Marie has been one of the most long-suffering of all the female bloggers I know. But I’ve seen some of her pictures and she is VERY attractive! She’s apparently hooked up with someone who is either blind, gay or has a serious mental disorder.

Guys are routinely seen as the less attractive sex because its sort of true. We can sort of joke about it, but deep inside we long to be attractive to at least ONE person. Preferably our spouse. We would like them to be able to just look at us and feel love. We would like them to undress us with their eyes like we do them. We would like our touch to set their passions aflame. We want to be wanted and desired in this very basic way. To many women this sort of desire seems shallow and superficial. Being a sex object isn’t the end all and be all, but being treated as a sexual leper or worse, a sexual joke, is enormously hurtful. And wearying.

I admire FTN for his dedication, his imagination and his humor. But most of all, he has demonstrated amazing resiliancy in the face of being repeatedly subjected to the disappointment of not being desired in that way. His wife may say he’s attractive, but this is not how she acts. Touching him and being touched by him in intimate ways requires the same sort of advanced appointment and notice that one would need for a doctor’s appointment or a dental cleaning. FTN, to his credit, puts a good face and a positive spin on it. And perhaps he has found a way to make it work for him.

But thinking about 2amsomewhere’s statement, I’m closer to where he is than FTN. Sometimes I say mean things to Arwyn. I’ve been less than enthusiastic about going places with her and the boys on family outings. I enjoy spending time with the boys, but not necessarily with her. In her world, family outings represent quality time. I can handle it in moderate doses; once or twice a week. Arwyn would do this almost every day/night if she could. But it is a strain spending time with someone who is obviously not attracted to me and is probably repulsed by me. I’m attracted to her, but the reverse is not true.

A couple weeks ago, Arwyn declared she wanted a new beginning. My hope was bit more tentative than expressed in some comments that were posted then. One can hope, but my expectations were still relatively low. Since that night, we have been friendly and I’ve tried to be positive and attentive and supportive.

But there’s been no more passion or physical intimacy. This morning I thought I might just at least partake a bit in something physical. And I pushed the limits just a bit by trying to hug and touch a breast. And I was promptly pushed away. So much for that aspect of starting over. It is too much of a burden to try to live with someone who is so obviously turned off and repulsed by me.

The above was written a week ago, and no changes from that as far as where we are. I just sat on it sort of hoping I could just sort of let it all go, but no dice.

But at least this is more on-topic than a high speed internet binge!


22 Responses to How do you live with someone who doesn’t find you attractive?

  1. aphron says:

    Did she ever say what she meant by starting over? If it’s still the same situation, how is that starting over? What deep seeded resentment is she carrying against you? If she refuses to let it go and forgive, there can be no starting over.

    It makes me angry to read that you do not feel attractive to your wife. Yet, how one feel at constantly being pushed away? If that happened to me, I would feel anger and resentment, too.

    Hang in there.

  2. Cat says:

    I won’t pretend I have any idea what is going on in Arwyn’s head. But I know from personal experience it is almost impossible to want your spouse like that if you have been disappointed too many times and/or hurt by him. I used to get so frustrated with hubby when he would complain about mercy sex. He wanted me to want him as much as he wanted me. But how is that possible when what I hoped and expected from a marriage didn’t happen time and time again? You just can’t have the passion without the love and respect. At least I don’t think you can long term. To be repulsed as you say there must be hurt behind it. I can’t imagine what else it could be…

  3. Emily says:

    I think you need to talk to Arwyn about what a new start might mean.

    Maybe tell her that you felt hopeful when she said that and don’t want to let that chance slip away. Tell her that you’ve felt lonely in the marriage for a long time and that the marriage seems to you to be a failure. Ask her what she means by a new start.

    Especially, maybe you should have some ideas about what a new start that has a real chance might look like. Not just generic words like “intimacy”, but “We would hold hands more and you would kiss me when I get home.” And really listen to her and try to follow through when she says what she wants.

    You and Arwyn have been in a deep freeze for a long time. Expecting the thaw to be specifically sexual and fixable so suddenly is probably not very realistic.

  4. Emily says:

    ps If Arwyn was really repulsed by you, she wouldn’t be asking you to come out more often with the boys, because she wouldn’t want you around.

  5. FTN says:

    I’m gonna stick with the company line here… Talk to her.

    Confront her. We all want to know why she’s pushing you away in these situations, so hey, if you aren’t going to ask her for yourself… At least do it for us. 🙂

    You obviously have years of bitterness built up here, and things aren’t going to change overnight. And they won’t change at all until you both communicate enough to get all your cards out on the table.

  6. So Gone says:

    Did ya really think that all of the sudden, things would be hunky-dorey and everything be exactly how YOU (not Arwyn) want them to be? Come on now. It takes some effort on both of your parts, and take some (gasp!) communication. To her, maybe this is turning over a new leaf.

  7. Oblivion says:

    I used to look at my hubby the way you described. After being dissected bit by bit hearing him say “that’s wrong … this is wrong … etc etc” I quit trying.

    I don’t know what is going on in Arwyn’s head I won’t pretend that I do know … but I do know it’s hard to live with someone that finds fault in all you do, doesn’t respect the work you do (when it’s perfectly legitimate!), doesn’t desire you the way a normal spouse would or should.

    I have no words of wisdom as I’m far from living a “happy” marriage.



  8. joeflirt says:

    Holy Shit! I practically wrote this post back in December myself, right around Xmas time.

    With MLA leading the charge, it was the charge to exchange hugs, kisses and “Thank You”s for gifts received. As my hands went inside her robe to give her a hug, my hand (quite inadvertently) brushed up against SWMNBN’s breast. You would think that my hands were made of molten lava. She grabbed my arm, and strained to get my hand off of her. I resisted, at first trying as I really took all this in to understand what was happening, and then for a momment longer, just in sheer defiance.

    But, I guess in a way I could consider that my third Christmas present. SWMNBN made it clear. The mere act of me touching her is so vile that even an inadvertent glancing touch is to much for her to bear. I truly am now to her… her version of the Phamtom of the House. Too gruesome to be with or love. Fine. At least there is no ambiguity to it this way.

  9. xi summit says:

    Much like you, I’ve been trying for a week to form a comment that makes sense for this situation. Best I can do is say that I’ve been there, I’m living close to that.

    Queenie would be very happy if she never saw me in a less-than-fully-dressed state again. She’d go on quite normally if she never had to touch me other than a kiss and shoulder rub. She’d just as soon I wait for an engraved invitation before coming near her as well. OK, bit of an exaggeration. Then again, maybe not?


  10. Shanequa says:

    I am suppose to get married in Febuary, 2008 I just learned tonight that my fiance does not find me attractive anymore, I also think that he is cheating, should I still marry him or would it be a waste of time.

  11. married with children says:

    i know what you mean and feel for you m8 as im going through the same thing it will be good for a few days then treated like your poison ivy for the next 2 months. im lost myself and am hoping for some advice but the thing is nomatter what the only advice we will take is the one we want to hear, the rest dont matter i know my wife isnt cheating and she complains of thrush alot but when i bring up to speak to doctor again and again about recurring thrush then she tells me it might not be thrush and gets me confused and feeling unloved i know im wanted we have 4 kids and without me she would be a wreck and it scares me thats the only reason she keeps me here i suffer from anxiety and it has been getting worse the last few months all this stuff doesnt help but i hanging in there hoping that one day she will remember why she married me in the first place i still love her with all my heart i just feel unloved id never cheat on my wife but i can see why some ppl do as this seems to be a common problem online ad if feeling unloved at home where can you feel loved

  12. Rosi says:

    This sucks. I have been married to my husband for 5 years. He does not find me attractive. I dont really have any advice for you because i don’t know what to do myself but from what i have seen online this is a really common problem. I don’t personally believe in divorce the only thing i can say is try to talk to her. Maybe try to move on and just focus on enjoying yourself and your kids. Dont shy away from her because of this it will probably make her resent you more.

  13. Florida says:

    I’m going through the same thing. My wIfe and I devorced 6 years ago and around 3 months ago we reconsiled and are back together. Well about three weeks ago the same stuff started to happen again. Im not a perv but I am very attracted to my wife and I lightly caressed the side of her breast and she flipped. She yelled at me and stated ” that’s all you think about!” the truth is… isn’t. I don’t always think about it. I simply desire my wife and I feel like I’m not allowed to. I didn’t touch her at all for over two weeks and the. Eru next time I did she pulled away and said the same thing. I feel like I’m gross or nasty. I’m not bad looking and I’m in decent shape. I get plenty of attention from other women just not the one that matters. She cheated on me and that’s what caused the devorce originally. I know I probably shouldn’t have gotten back with her but I love her and she the mother of my children. I got full custody of our kids by the way. I’ve been with other women after we split and they made me feel very desirable. Again, the one that counts couldnt care less for me. What’s wrong with me!!!! Am i that much of a turd…..

  14. Michael says:

    Sometimes you simply just have to let go.

  15. Stuart says:

    There is no golden bullet to this problem folks, it’s painful and confusing and I personally draw the same picture as most of you but with slight differences. It may be down to our blind love of the wrong person or self denial of the flaws in our own personalities that have driven our loved one to see past what originally attracted them to us. What I can offer is a different perspective of the problem.

    Take how you feel right now and let it inspire you to change the only thing you can and that’s your own actions. Don’t become a downtrodden other half who searches endlessly for a one line wonder speech that will suddenly make your partner realise the pain and rush back into your arms, it’s not out there.

    My advice is to find the person within yourself that you want to be. Wake up tomorrow and lift your head up slightly, stick your chin out and walk tall. If your made to feel you unattractive then get to the gym, go shopping, book a visit to the dentist and get that hair sorted. This isn’t about indulging a midlife crisis or trying to act younger it’s about self respect and pride. Join a club, take a new hobby and ask the other half if they want to join to. Show them that your in charge of your life and not dependant on them for reassurance and confidence.

    Six months ago I was low, having once been a fit and attractive guy who never thought I could ever let anyone exert so much control over my emotions simply by not giving me attention or being inter ate I gave up. I tore myself apart trying to be nice, attentive and talking through my feelings. In the end I just stopped trying as my words were just met with words.

    So, I stayed up late one night reading these type of posts and decided to do something about my life. I joined a gym, I started playing rugby again after a five year gap, I made an effort to see my mates and go out socially with them. I organised family days off my own back and made lists of the jobs that I wanted done round the house and did them off my own back in my spare time. My focus was to keep busy, be positive and take control over how I felt. I stopped trying to touch my wife but made sure I told her how attractive she looked and still made every effort to spend as much fun time as I could with her. Having my own life gave me so much more to do and talk about. I had bad days and still do but just last week I overcame the biggest hurdle in months! We had been out with friends and the I laws had the kids for us. We got home and couldn’t find they house key so I just pulled my coat off and offered it over her head while she rummaged through the bottomless handbag. The key was found and I was soaked but as we burst through the doors she turned and pushed the door shut and me up against it and kissed me like I can’t remember being kissed. The rest you can guess. And why was this a hurdle? We’ll it was just the type of thing that could lead me back to thinking that it is fine to get old and content, to take for granted that the ones we love won’t do the same to us by taking the things they need us most for and leaving out the less important bits to them.

  16. I too am in the same kind of marriage. My husband is repulsed by my body and I can do nothing about my body without surgery. It hurts so much being a woman who is unwanted and undesired. But acceptance is the key to happiness so I too must accept that no man will want or desire me again. Such is life. Moving on towards happiness by accepting that God is the only man who truly desires for me to be a good person.

    • diggerjones says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I can identify readily with the pain, but part of the acceptance is this: why seek acceptance from someone who is intent on rejecting you? It’s taken me a long time to come around and work past that pain. Getting to that point required me to stop seeking validation. It doesn’t mean I’m happy about it, but it does mean that I’m not on my knees and begging in a way that gives the power of my dignity to someone else who is every bit as flawed as me.

  17. Shaun says:

    I know I’m not desirable to most of the female population but never cared as I’m a married man for 14 years and never been interested in other women . I’m old fashioned and a 1 woman guy. But today daughter and her friend were in room and having a random conversation and I said I’m orange, to which both my daughter and her friend say no your def not orange whilst laughing which is fine i expect that from teenagers lol.. but at same point wife cracked up laughing to with a major head backwards motion which indicates she also feels that way to. Over sensitive perhaps but ie never felt insecure about this with her until now.

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