One Of Our Oldest Couple Friends Stopped Having Sex. Can Their Relationship Still Thrive?
I would love to be proven wrong but I have my doubts.
I went for coffee with an old friend yesterday. I don’t see her often these days, but she’d asked to get together because she was going through some significant transitions. She wanted to bounce some of them off me.
She’s at a stage in life where a lot is changing. She and her husband of 22 years are about to become empty nesters. Their first child left for university two years ago, and their youngest goes next year. She has always been an extremely engaged parent; in fact, it’s kind of hard to imagine her not being in a full-time parental role — it’s such a dominant part of her day-to-day life. So, without a career, being relatively young and in good health, she’s pretty concerned over how she will stay busy during this next phase.
Her relationship with her husband is OK. But there is a lot of friction between the two. They are a couple that bickers all the time. He is a pretty easy-going and content guy. He likes to get up early and get to work, go for a run when he gets home, have dinner, clean the kitchen, read the paper, go to bed — every night. She is probably a little more dynamic, and their different approaches to life have caused some pretty deep resentments over the years. I always find it a little awkward being around both of them together — she complains about it pretty incessantly and deflects with jokes.
I probably should add, she’s a pretty difficult person. She could start an argument in an empty room. I like her because she’s an old friend and I believe she has a good heart. But she is difficult. She goes through friends quickly, and most of her volunteer work with the school and community ends in conflict.
And, all of this coincides with her just entering menopause. Her ability to feel aroused has dramatically diminished over the past couple of years. She and her husband used to be exceptionally sexual but have had very little sex in the past few years. With menopause now coming on, she’s decided to take sex off the table for good — forever.
I asked if she ever felt aroused. She said that she does, but not around her husband. She said she still really likes flirting with other guys and gets immensely turned on by that. But she said she can’t get turned on by her husband, and she doesn’t want to. It’s funny. He’s a handsome guy — in great shape and attractive. And he does love her. But she can no longer see him as sexual or break down the resentment that would allow her to be open to sex with him.
I asked the logical question. Does this mean she wants to end the relationship? She said, unequivocally, no. She still wants to stay married to him. She says she likes going biking with him, having dinner together, and watching TV in the evening. She acknowledges that he’s a really good guy and a good husband.
She’s describing a companionate relationship — one where they cohabitate, kind of like roommates. But it’s more than roommates. They definitely would still be a couple. They will go out together, see friends, do activities together. They won’t have sex.
I asked if they would open their relationship — be allowed to have sex with others. She said absolutely not. She said she would consider that cheating and felt that would be humiliating to him. I asked if he was OK with never having sex again. She said she hadn’t considered that but that he would have to be.
But no more sex. It feels crazy. She’s a youngish woman, who still has a sex drive, but she’s decided — I think almost out of stubbornness — that she’ll never have sex again.
So, what does this mean for the prospects of the relationship? The reality is that they haven’t had sex in about three years. And, truthfully, they seem as content now as they were at any point over those last few years. So, it seems it can work. Sex is important to me, and maybe it’s too important. A million little things make a relationship work, and perhaps those million little things can compensate for the few big things that are problematic. So, they may make it after all.
About the Creator
I'm an eclectic guy - I like writing about sex, relationships, parenting, politics, celebrity trivia - the works. I'm happily married and a father of 2.
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