Jealousy, or something else?

Hi LH fam,

I know there are other similar posts, but all issues are unique so I hoped I might get some advice from y’all.

Background: My OH & I are mid-40’s, married 20 years and both know we’re ‘The One’. We don’t have children, sex is great when we have it … and I’m primary housekeeper. She’s got it good!! :laughing: (honestly, she says she won the “husband lottery)

Outside of sexual activity and communication right now, things are great. But sex and intimate connection are huge for me, and that’s where I’m/we’re struggling a bit.

When we first met, the sex was incredible, regular, and I was in no doubt my OH desired me … of course things naturally ‘slow’ but I wasn’t expecting they would slow quite as much or leave me feeling so down so often.

I’ve spent the last 15+ years trying to rekindle the flame, mostly alone. My OH struggles to talk about sex - it embarrasses her. She struggles to be naked with me unless it’s low-light, under covers, and she feels self-conscious re: receiving oral sex (which I’d LOVE to do more of).

I know I’ve made mistakes with how I’ve communicated too … we’re working on that.

Yet before me, my wife slept with 20-30 different guys and even shagged at least one complete stranger she met on the street while walking home one night.

When we first met, I was in a relationship. That didn’t stop my now-OH from trying to seduce me/sleep with me. When I became single, my wife pursued me, and I always felt desired by her. When we got together, we did all sorts of sexual things.

The thing that rattles around in my currently-insecure brain … how can a woman who can shag a total stranger, sleep with 20+ guys and pursue me like a seductive temptress now struggle to even let me know she wants sex or show me I’m desired?

She’s talked about pursuing other guys in the past, she’s cheated on guys and willingly been the ‘other woman’. I trust her but her awkwardness discussing sex often leaves me feeling like she’s hiding something, or holding back.

It’s not that I don’t believe her when she claims to have a lower libido per se, but sex drives can go up as well as down … and hers hasn’t always been an ‘issue’. When we do have sex it’s fantastic, and I’m trying to slowly introduce more & spice things up.

Am I crazy for having negative thoughts about things the way that I am? Honestly, the part that I really struggle with the most is just feeling that she gave more of herself to other guys than she gives me now.

I’m just battling icky thoughts too often atm, and don’t want to be. She’s the BEST lady, and I don’t think she has anything to be ‘ashamed’ of. If anything I love that she has at least been sex-positive in the past, and I just want to help her embrace that again with her current guy.

There isn’t much I wouldn’t do. I love giving pleasure, and have bought a number of toys which blow her mind. But with all of that, I still feel sexually and emotionally neglected quite often.

Thoughts?

3 Likes

@Lucas04 firstly you write beautifully and express yourself really well.

My marriage was almost the opposite 24 years of great sex with zero emotional connection, so there is always a contrasting situation.

Im wondering (without being personal) is this a body image issue for her?

Lights out and shy of you being up close to her bits makes me wonder if that is the issue?

As we age we all change, in her younger days was she happier in her own skin?

4 Likes

I agree with what the_little_ladybird says about self image but also would add that it might be worth her having a chat with her gp. I was always highly sexed like your wife and for a long while with my husband but did hit a period of low libido for a couple of years it turned out to be a combination of hitting the menopause and having an underactive thyroid. Once the medication was sorted out, as my husband would tell you it was like a lightbulb being switched on again and we now have amazing sex. I hope you manage to resolve it, you speak so well of her.

3 Likes

So much of what @The_Little_Ladybird and @Curvy_bbw say could well be the case.
Also when we look back at our previous selves, we do not always like what we have been. Could your wife have feelings of guilt.
We are all complex characters, so open communication is imperative.
Keep reassuring her you love and desire her as much as you ever did.
My wife has a low self appreciation to an extent, but ive managed to get her to love and accept herself to the extent she can relax on a nudist beach. That may be a bit extreme, but its meant to demonstrate what can be achieved by communication and support.
Keep at her.

2 Likes

thx LLB … my OH truly is a special human. She’s the absolute love of my life. Probably why it impacts me so much.

I’d almost guarantee body/self image has a part to play. She has suffered a couple of big knocks to her confidence in general including horrific, workplace bullying early in our relationship. It dented her in more ways than I knew … but there’s also general body negativity which she seems to find so hard to move past.

So yes, I’d also say she would have been happier in her skin in her 20’s compared to now. I suspect the time she slept with a total stranger was linked at least in part to her previous bf being unfaithful, & my OH looking for a boost to her self-esteem.

Trust me - she knows how I see her. But you know how it is … doesn’t matter what your OH says if you don’t believe it yourself. But she IS effing beautiful. My friends all say I’m “punching”, and told me when they first met her “don’t **** it up!” :laughing:

I have to say though … while I love her to bits, part of my frustration is that my OH has neglected to do much about repairing herself - with or without my help - and has been letting things slide for this long.

3 Likes

Thx Curvy … a chat with her gp will definitely be a suggestion in the very near future I think. At this stage though, it feels like it’s more emotional/head-based than medical. I’m not an expert, but I read a LOT …

… so I also know how damaging bring up her past might have been, regardless of my positive intent. When I talk about sex she instantly starts shutting down, feels judged, and pulls away … and thss as ya even when I’m just talking about the sex we just had, and how great it was.

She’s realised she’s doing it too though so that’s a positive. First step to repair, is admitting there’s an issue.

1 Like

Even just comments from people like yourself confirming there’s a good reason to keep hoping are great atm!! I struggle with having no outlet, or anyone to really open up to about my own demons … big part of me finally posting here.

She certainly hears how much I desire her. My battle is changing how I communicate it to her, so she doesn’t feel expectation or inadequacy along with it (how I speak, but also how she listens/hears things).

It’s funny/annoying … but it seems the less I say atm, the better. It’s hard for me though … I’m an open communicator, and she struggles to open up.

1 Like

Sounds to me like a self esteem, body confidence issue. Also if I was you I’d put out of my mind any prior sexual experiences of hers because it’s not really relevant and could lead you to feel resentful which will affect your sex life. I would be giving her lots of genuine compliments about her body and her looks and tell her how sexy you find her. Then try to communicate more about your sex life and your desires and introduce things slowly to help with connection and intimacy which I think would be great for you two to explore first so you can both be on the same page before moving onto other explorations if you’re both willing.

2 Likes

I can sort of relate. I was a wild teenager and did some things that were similar to your OH.

My body image is good but I have insecurities that … thats alI I am (a pretty face). Im still battling this. I meet someone new and think “they only like the external, soon as they really know me they will run a mile”.

I also had a few lumps taken off me over the years.

Cognitive behaviour therapy is what has really helped me to reconnect with myself… i hope you can get through this together x

2 Likes

I could never resent her for any pre-me adventures … we’ve both had ‘experiences’. Sadly though I think I’ve let some of my curiosity seem like judgement so the impact has possibly been similar. I really regret that. It’s a hard thing to backtrack from.

… regardless, I think you’re spot on re: burying the past (for now at least) & focusing on providing a safe environment for her. I’d love to talk about both our pasts openly in a warm, even humorous way in the future.

Appreciate you sharing your thoughts :slight_smile:

1 Like

I agree with the comments above, firstly to stop thinking about her past as it sounds like you’re using it against her. She was a certain way in the past with other people, assuming with you also and now she’s not, and you feel put out about that.

I agree with her confidence likely being the culprit. And that you think she’s neglecting to ‘repair herself’, this could be depression but also if you’re pushing this thought, you’re feeding into her body insecurities. I’m not saying you are but you’ve said it here, so you’ve possibly possibly said it to her too.

I would suggest backing off from talking about sex completely. Focus on helping her feel better about herself and this will also show her that you’re not just doing things to get it to lead to sex. Start going out for a walk in the evenings, the weather (if you’re in the UK) is starting to pick up, the flowers are out and its beautiful. This could help if she is depressed, its also exercise and time for yous to spend together, not talking about sex. Talk about your days, make plans for day trips, get her excited about making plans. Work on your communication and realise that how she’s feeling isn’t a slight against you.

1 Like

My OH and I have talked thoroughly about how discussing the past hasn’t helped. My intention has never been about using anything against her, but I understand now how it’s been perceived, so it’s off the table.

I’m confident my OH would tell you she gets nothing but positivity from me re: anything physical. We really do have a great marriage full of all the other stuff you’ve suggested … and more.

I just feel like I’m in that hard place where I’m trying to be patient and not say anything, while trying to make sure she still feels desire from me & doesn’t think I’ve lost interest.

My struggle with patience led me here, so I could continue giving my OH space and time … and peace & quiet! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi, i’m not sure what age your wife will be now but is there a chance she is menopausal? This could well have a massive effect on her. Also is she on medication as again that can have all sort of effect on her? I think you need to sit down with her and communicate the effect its having on you and try to sort something out. Good luck and keep the forum informed.

1 Like

Appreciate the replies so far.

I just want to add … while I’m obviously feeling frustrated and saddened by my current situation, honestly most of my thoughts are full of empathy towards my wife. I see her struggle with being comfortable, sexy etc … it comes from a place of fear, which just isn’t healthy fullstop.

My OH has also admitted to some major mistakes in our marriage … including flirting heavily with an ex, (unintentionally) belittling my sexual performance and more. She’s admitted that her actions have really affected me, leading me to feel insecure and inadequate.

I got the feeling some people commenting are just assuming I’m the sole problem, and my OH’s needs are all that matter.

We’ve come a looong way with our communication … we’ve forgiven each other for everything and are trying to start again.

3 Likes

This.

This.

Finally this.

Would have me running for the door a long time ago.

1 Like

Hi @Lucas04
So much good advice and good will on this thread for you.
I say this to everyone, because I think it cuts to the chase, gets it all out in the open and leans into solutions - in a safe space - find a decent therapist.
Quality conversations, that are managed by a skilled third party, can help you get both your needs met.
You sound like you have a lot of love for your OH, and that’s all you need.
A good therapist / counsellor can give you more tools for your relationship and intimacy.
My OH was deeply sexual when we met each other, but then kids, work, life … all that stuff happens and we both changed.
There were issues that needed to be addressed on both sides - including sexual trauma / abuse history.
Now we have the best sex we have ever had - with the lights on, sexy lingerie, toys - the works!
It’s not all the time, and it’s not perfect - but it’s a quantum leap from before we got into therapy.
I wish you all the best in the adventure. Good luck.
Hope you find the magic :heart:

2 Likes

I’ve only been with my girlfriend for 12 years and she was with 13 other lads before me and she seemed to happy to give handjobs and blowjobs to them as and when they wanted.
when we started thing were good and she would often start activities then it slowed down but on our 10 year anniversary she broke down turns out she was pressured into doing some of it but the worst was her last ex who didn’t know what NOT going all the way means and forced himself on her, but instead of accepting what happened and reporting it she tried to convince herself she wanted it and tried to keep the relationship with him but he left her the next day. After nearly 1.5 years of counseling she has found a way to deal with it enough to start having PIV sex again.

I’m grateful my job keeps me from doing something stupid it’s the only thing that’s kept me thinking straight and being there for her when she needed and giving her the push to talk to someone professional.

I found writing notes for her helped it gave a chance for a cheeky message but she didn’t have e the pressure of talking and have to reply quickly.
Hope you get her to talk to someone about it

2 Likes

I agree with everyone who has suggested counselling. It could however be the menopause as some have said.
I cant imagine what it must feel like to not get the feeling of wanting to. I can get myself in the mood instantly even if at the time there is no feeling.
As a guy, the second I have had an orgasm, all feelings totally disappear. I can only imagine that feeling like that 24/7 is similar to the pause. There is always HRT to try.

Everything in your post sounds so much like my husband and me. I don’t know if this is the case with her, but for us, sadly my husband suffers a great deal as a result of my insecurities and low self-esteem. He often feels that I don’t want him like I used to and like I’m holding back. My desire for him hasn’t changed, but I do hold back. Deep down, I know that he loves me unconditionally. But then, in my moments of self-doubt, I always wonder if he’s disappointed with me. I wonder if he secretly doesn’t like how my body looks now that I’m older. Or if he wishes I was different. It’s just a mixture of my lack of confidence and my complete infatuation with him. He is the most important person to me in the world, which means I care more what he thinks of me than I do anyone else. And when I start feeling down on myself, I wonder how he could possibly like the way I look when I don’t even like it. All I know is that it’s a dark, painful place to navigate, and I’m willing to bet that any negative thoughts or feelings that she may be having are more about herself than they are about you or your relationship. If that’s the case, sadly, there’s no easy fix. Just be as patient with her as you can, because as hard it is for you, chances are it’s much worse for her.

3 Likes

Thx OAB … yes, I’ve actually reached out to someone who works in the relationship/sex therapy field about couples sessions and 1-v-1 sessions with them and my wife. Sometimes you do need a place to air things, but with a good moderator.

Appreciate your thoughts.

1 Like