I had a reader email asking about when to divorce. The basic background being that he’d really put effort into making himself into a better more sexy man and she hadn’t responded. This is a very tough question and I’m not convinced there is a stock answer.
I’m not one for saying you should just shrug your shoulders and cut and run, if you’ve been lackluster for years sometimes the last person you can convince you’ve changed for the better is your wife. If she’s been drenched in your blah sexual presence for years, she may be essentially trained by you to not be responsive. It can be a little while to unlearn that and it may require more of a shock to her system than mere polite conversation.
So assuming it’s been at least three months to a year of you being really tricked out on being sexy as you can be, with no response from her, it starts looking like more and more that she has some sort of low sexual desire issue. So it’s time to start really checking into the medical picture for her, get a full check up, look into all the medications she is on. Birth control pills and SSRI anti-depressants can nerf sexual desire for example. If it’s something really as simple as changing from birth control pills to condoms or a little testosterone patch as what returns the spark in her eye, it would be foolish to walk way too soon.
If you’ve been through all that sort of thing and it’s coming up with no medical issues, on some level she’s probably just not interested in you at all or choosing to behave that way. I think the next step is a conversation with her about you needing more than she has been giving. Ultimately I think marriage is a sexual relationship and it’s very difficult to sustain a marriage without the sexual contact implied in the relationship. I really do see one spouse denying reasonable sexual outlet to the other and making no attempt to fix things as cheating the other spouse out of their marriage. Does she even want to try and fix things on her end is the basic question.
As I’ve written on the blog before, sexless marriages basically force the partner that wants sex into three outcomes; (1) Misery, (2) Cheating, or (3) Leaving. She’s the only one that has the power to decide for (4) Resuming Sex.
Ultimately I’ve never said that my system is 100% going to work with salvaging a marriage, just that it will probably make her more interested and responsive, and if it doesn’t, you’re in a better place with yourself to seek someone new. My general advice is to continue to push on towards a resolution of the situation towards either outcome (3) or (4). Ultimately she gets to make that choice between them.
However the pushing towards those outcomes can all seem like nothing but talk, the real action really starts to kick in once you start having obvious interactions with other women. You don’t have to cheat on her (that can be a huge stumbling block to resuming things with her), just make it clear that there are other opportunities out there you know you could have. Basically destabilizing the relationship slowly by turning up the threat of leaving. Even something as low key as being obviously friendly with another woman has impact. Having lunch with someone else. Phone calls and texts. Little bite sized tastes of her future without you.
You may find the wife that has no interest in seeing the doctors to check herself out suddenly gets interested in doing so once it appears you are making some traction with a new woman. Funny that huh.
Filing for divorce is the final attempt at getting her attention. When to go is a question only you can answer. A lot will depend on the divorce laws of your state, how you can resolve the marriage as well as you can. The kid issue is huge too. I think in the end the time to go will be quite apparent to you. I think it’s when you actually feel sad for her and what she’s losing.
I write primarily for men. But if you’re a female reader 99% of this works just the same for you.