Navigating the Silent Battle: When Intimacy Fades in Marriage

Harper Quill

Updated Tuesday, November 21, 2023 at 12:00 AM CDT

Marriage is a journey of companionship that often faces unspoken challenges, particularly in the realm of intimacy. A recent online discussion sheds light on a topic that many find uncomfortable to address: the struggle of initiating physical closeness in a long-term relationship. From the necessity of communication to the impact of personal and health issues, individuals across the globe are sharing their experiences and seeking solace in the fact that they are not alone in this silent battle.

One participant humorously reminds others of the importance of setting the mood with a simple yet significant detail: remembering to wear "business socks" when it's time for business. This lighthearted comment underscores the need for intentionality in maintaining a romantic connection.

Another individual emphasizes the power of open dialogue, recounting a personal revelation that occurred when confronting their partner about the lack of initiation. The conversation led to an understanding that past relationships should not dictate current behaviors, and that assumptions about being unwanted can be detrimental to the relationship's health.

A heartfelt confession from a nine-year marriage reveals the pain of a one-sided pursuit of intimacy, leading to a sexless partnership despite efforts in communication and therapy. This story resonates with many who face similar situations, highlighting the complexity of marital intimacy and the importance of mutual effort.

Health issues, such as hormonal changes and chronic pain, are also recognized as significant factors affecting desire. One commenter suggests that working together through these challenges is essential, honoring the vows of "through sickness and in health."

The concept of "mom and survival mode" is introduced, where the biological imperative to protect and nurture children can override the desire for intimacy. This natural response is often misunderstood, leading to frustration and a sense of isolation within the marriage.

A controversial yet thought-provoking perspective is presented with the idea that some marriages may evolve into a companionate partnership rather than a romantic one. The stigma surrounding open marriages and the lack of societal discussion on this topic are noted, suggesting that alternative arrangements can be successful if navigated with care and discretion.

The notion of reciprocity extends beyond the marital relationship to friendships, where the absence of mutual effort can lead to a disconnection. A call for reassessment of personal wants and comforts is made, advocating for a balanced approach to maintaining relationships.

Finally, a shared experience of exhaustion from the demands of parenthood highlights the need for empathy and understanding. The delicate balance between personal space and physical intimacy is explored, with the conclusion that finding a way through challenges is possible with patience and open communication.

In conclusion, the complexities of intimacy in marriage are as diverse as the individuals involved. The key to navigating this silent battle lies in the willingness to communicate openly, understand each other's needs, and work together towards a fulfilling partnership. Whether it's through humor, heartfelt discussions, or seeking professional help, the journey towards reconnecting is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of love in the face of adversity.

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View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


Have you told her?


Do you remember to wear your business socks when it's time for business?


Hey, it sounds like to me you need to find one or two types of therapists: marriage and s**


It doesn't get talked about enough in society, but if everyone can agree to reassess personal wants and comforts... there is nothing wrong with a long term committed marriage and partnership that is more companionate than romantic. Due to stigma we only hear from failed open marriages, the successful ones quietly keep moving.


Went through a similar situation. She was the one who always had to initiate in a previous relationship which eventually became essentially platonic. Since I tend to initiate, she stopped altogether. After a while I said "hey, what gives?" Talked it over. We are not our exes sort of thing. She had come to this mindset that if she had to initiate, she wasn't wanted. I simply asked, "and so putting me through the same thing you went through is meant to be helpful?" Kind of a lightbulb moment.


I'm in mom and survival mode. Biology has turned off my s** drive for safety like low battery mode.


Dude. I feel this. I’ve been married for 9 years. Five of them I’ve had to initiate (beg). Four of them have been sexless with multiple conversations and therapy. There’s a lot of discomfort with this topic. Don’t have any answers. Just want you to know you’re not alone.


@OP She may be going through hormonal changes. This affects not only one physically, but mentally. I personally suffer from chronic pain, and that plus the meds have done a doozy on me. I can only suggest you work together - through sickness and in health; til death do you part.


It doesn't only apply to s** or marriage either. I got really tired of initiating contact with friends, so tried an experiment where I just...stopped. Years later, and I still haven't heard from them. 'Relationship' is a two-way street.


Talk it out together. Lots of great positive advice here. I will say that when my kids were little, I was so tired all the time from being available 24/7. Physical intimacy was just another thing being asked of me when all I wanted to do was sleep and have some time alone. If I even hugged my husband, he saw it as a green light. It was a tough time for us both. We found a way through with understanding. Hopefully you can too!

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