Why am I attracted to other men, but not my husband?

Q: I want my marriage to work. It’s the right thing for my kids, plus I am afraid of being alone with 2 children. My husband is a good man. Good men are hard to find. At the same time, I don’t feel that physical connection with him anymore.  I don’t even like him touching me, but I am extremely physically attracted to someone else. Why is it that this other man can make me feel so good and my husband can no longer do this for me? What should I do? – Woman in a Marriage Crisis

Dear Woman in a Marriage Crisis,

Just like nearly everything in life, no relationship is perfect. One man might be a great lover, but not a great conversationalist. Another might be a great provider, but a terrible lover. Few if any people have every single quality we desire in a mate.

Once you allow yourself to accept this fact, you’ll have a much easier time seeing the shortcomings of your marriage as problems that you can solve over time. Rather than seeing your lack of attraction to your husband as a fatal flaw—one that can only be solved by either replacing him or cheating on him—you’ll look into ways to build a healthy attraction.

Excluding that temporary insanity that most of us feel during the early days of a relationship, long-term attraction is not a magical quality that you either have or don’t. You can create it. I know this because I did just that in my own marriage. A few years ago, I would have rather had all of my toenails extracted than have sex with my husband. Now I look forward to it (the sex, not the toe nail removal).

This is what I recommend:

* Launch Project: Attraction. Tell your husband about it. Explain that your yearning for him has waned over the years and that you’d like to get it back. Be honest. Reveal your weakness for other men. Tell him that you want your marriage to work and that you don’t want to have an affair, but you are afraid that you might. Ask him to help you fall back in love with him.

* Start having sex on a regular basis, even if you don’t want to do it. Sex helps build a connection that will turn into a healthy attraction over time.

* Deal with any turn-offs. If he needs dental care, tell him. If he needs to spend more time on personal hygiene, tell him.

* Teach him how to romance you. Give him an instruction manual.

* Teach him how to please you in bed. Again, if needed, given him an instruction manual. Also, add variety to your sex life. In long-term relationships, monogamy often turns into sexual monotony, but it doesn’t have to. Be creative and be willing to try new things.

* Touch often. It’s really the simple things that keep a marriage going. Hug before you leave the house or when you come home. Hold hands. Sit closely on the couch. Stroke his arm or pat his back. Constantly be looking for new ways to have skin-to-skin contact.


* Be transparent.
Allow him to know the real you and vice versa. The more you get to know each other on a deeper level, the more your attraction will grow.

* Put on blinders. It’s normal to occasionally feel attracted to other people. You’re married. You’re not a eunuch (or whatever the female version of one would be called). You can look, but you can’t touch. Practice the art of healthy self-control.  Learn how to release your attachment to wanting it all. Learn how to be happy with the wonderful man you already have.

Do you have advice for Woman in a Marriage Crisis? Leave a comment.

114 comments… add one

  • Persephone September 14, 2013, 11:07 pm

    I wish I could say that this dilemma was a recent thing in my marriage (7 years in October), but alas it is not. I am starting to think we got married way too fast. We only knew each other for 6 months before we got engaged and then married a month later. I was only 3 months out from ending a 5 year abusive relationship. My mother even asked me on my wedding night if I was sure, and at the time I thought I was. Now I am not so sure. We have two small children together so I want to make things work for their sake, but I just don’t physically want to be intimate with my husband any more. He doesn’t even turn me on in the least and I cannot have an orgasm when we do have sex, but I have no issues bringing my self to one. He has put on some weight over the last few years (he has 100 pounds on me), but he was once attractive to me. I just really do not know what to do because sometimes I don’t even want to be around him. Any time I try to talk to him about how I feel he always makes it about him, and how he feels underappreciated. He used to complain to his best friend about how I didn’t work, but now that I do work he complains about me not being home. I just don’t know what to do anymore, or if its even worth trying to save my marriage.

    Reply
  • londie October 19, 2013, 11:17 pm

    It seems like your husbands weight gain has a lot to do with how you feel. Perhaps couples therapy may work. Your husband may be dealing with issues of his own to let himself go. The strain of life can make it hard to stay in love. But remember that life is full of ups and downs and relationships are almost always difficult. If you divorce your husband in some ways your life will be harder because you will be a single parent with a new kind of problem. Talk to a professional about how you feel and invite your husband to join in. If you can’t afford therapy, try a spiritual mentor like a pastor, priest or rabbi. Try to be mindful that how you resolve your relationship problems will teach your children how to resolve their own when they grow up.

    Reply
  • Rachel November 1, 2013, 5:55 am

    Why would she want to put effort and time with someone who clearly is very difficult and not meeting her needs anymore. The best thing you can do for your
    kids is to love yourself, be happy and find what makes you happy. They will survive if you opt to not be with your husband. They will most likely thrive and be in a better place because you will be listening to your inner voice and not allowing someone to put you down about working or disregard what you need. Putting on 100 pounds is unacceptable and clearly there are issues going on with your husbands self-esteem. He is not a good role model for your kids as far as eating healthy. I am not attracted to my husband, I can arouse myself too, and I find other men attractive as well. Emotionally I have been really hurt and extremely frustrated by my husbands actions. We’ve come to the point where he is frustrated and says we act like roommates. One of the issues for me is that he is a selfish lover. For me it’s hard to want to start something when you know you will end up unsatisfied and disappointed, while they have got what they abated without asking how you feel or being concerned that you are disappointed. Sad and I have seriously been contemplating leaving my husband. I want to be happy and be a priority.

    Reply
  • Joy November 16, 2013, 2:28 am

    I am 42 years old, and recently divorced from a man I was married to for almost ten years. There are a lot of these comments I can relate to, but the only thing we all have in common is that our situations are all unique and need different solutions. I was initially attracted to my husband while we were dating, emotionally, and somewhat physically, though it was not a strong attraction. Over the years, he began to job hop, lost a few jobs, and ran up a lot of credit card debt that he concealed from me. When I found out about it and gently confronted him, he became defensive and shut me out. Then he blamed me for treating him poorly. At that point I lost what little attraction I had left for him. Our marriage lasted another two years, with me always trying to break through, encourage honesty and affection, and him always doing the opposite of anything I might suggest. Ironically, he was the one to leave me, and although devastated, there was also a strange sense of relief. We have two beautiful little girls who are with me 90% of the time. Life is a struggle, but I do feel i put myself into my marriage and also set boundaries of respect for myself. When you set healthy boundaries for yourself and your spouse chooses to leave, it’s not your fault. I think in many cases, a woman feels physically unattracted to her husband because she is emotionally/ spiritually not attracted to or compatible with her husband. And vice versa-a man can also feel this way about his wife. Honesty is the only way, even if it is hurtful. There’s a kind way to say almost anything, and it gives your spouse the respect of trusting that they should be mature enough to handle honesty. None of us are perfect. I’m sure there have been periods where I was unattractive to my husband! He saw me through good and bad. There should be enough more emotionally and spiritually to a marriage to sustain where physical attraction wanes. And this means more than someone being a good provider and a nice guy. Belief in God, common life goals, these help.

    Reply
  • pauline January 4, 2014, 3:54 pm

    I love my husband but I don’t like him touching me I met a guy from work for the first time which her conected very quickly, .ive Only had conversations with I’m, every time I think about him I feel turned on plus we have been txt each other we are both
    in a relationship which is not great he is only with him for the kids. He is a bit younger than me. I’m confused whY should I do????? Help

    Reply
  • sara April 6, 2014, 6:09 pm

    I feel the same way.. I have two very young boys i got pregnant with our first kid 3 mo after we met. Im scared to try to raise them on my own. I have over 3 years before they are both in school. But im not physically attracted to my husband. I havent’ been for a long time. I almost cringe when he touches me. And when we do have sex i cant wait till its over. I need advice. I know he truly loves me and that makes it hard because i dont want to hurt him. But im not happy. I need my heart to feel something in order to be happy in a relationship.

    Reply
    • deena April 9, 2014, 2:59 pm

      I feel the same way.i don’t want to have sex with my husband at all. I cringe and hate him touching me. We have 4 beautiful kids so I am here for them only. My husband and I no longer have same beliefs. I thought I had those same beliefs but just came to realize I faked it. I feel so ashamed and go not have the courage to tell him how I feel.

      Reply
  • Melissa April 22, 2014, 9:23 am

    I’m feeling completely the same.
    I met someone at work who is 7 years younger then me, we started talking and texting a lot a couple years ago. He told me he had feelings and said everything I wanted to hear. I fell pregnant to my husband at the time, but I had felt an attraction towards this other man. He pulled away from me because he said it was best for the both of us. I struggled with that. I returned back to work when my baby was 6 months old. Instantly when I see him my heart would beat fast. We go in and out of talking, if he pulls away and doesn’t talk to me I get depressed. I don’t want my husband to touch me and I get turned on so easily when I look at the man I’m attracted to. It’ feels like it’s that bad that I wouldn’t even care if my hubby cheated on me cause I feel like it could give me a way out.
    The thing is he is the only man I have ever been with so I’m not sure whether that is why I’m so confused as well. I know I should stay away from the other guy but it’s like I am weak when it comes to him… Even though I don’t believe he has those feelings anymore.

    I don’t know how to handle this at all.

    Reply
  • Jen May 7, 2014, 3:50 pm

    I feel the same way about my husband. Actually I had an affair with another man which he found out about and the affair is over. It’s been over 6 months since it ended but I still have no desire to be intimate with my husband. We’ve been married 11 years and have two children. He has forgiven the affair and wants to improve our marriage and recognizes we both contributed to the breakdown of the marriage even though I obviously did the worst possible thing in dealing with it by having an affair. We are in counseling, and I am doing everything I can to drum up those feelings but in truth I have not had them for many years. They died a slow death over a long period of time, due to many decisions we both made which allowed us to live in separate worlds without a true sense of connectedness to one another. Now I don’t even want that connectedness with him; the thought of it viscerally disgusts me.

    Reply
    • anna August 19, 2014, 7:11 am

      I relate to your story…what’s going on now?

      Reply
    • Ashley September 14, 2014, 4:15 am

      We are in the exact same boat. I left for my affair partner but came back to try and fix the marriage for my kids sake. I feel the same way about sex and I just don’t know how I can make it work. Do you think we could start emailing?? I would love to talk to someone who understands.

      Reply
      • Helen September 15, 2014, 12:35 pm

        Ashley, in the same boat. Can email if you’d like to talk further

      • Ashley September 15, 2014, 7:28 pm

        My email address is ashleyneale37@gmail.com
        I need to talk to other women in the same situation. I actually feel so depressed about this at times that it feels like there is no hope or joy in my life or in the future.

      • Elaine October 22, 2014, 6:46 am

        I am having similar issues. I need to talk to other women with the same issues. If you get a moment, email me at elambert26@gmail.com. I would like to know how things are for you now – if they’ve improved and how you were able to reconcile the problems.

  • Toufeeqah July 6, 2014, 9:16 am

    Im 21 yrs old, been married for 2 yrs now to a man who is twice my age, we have a beautiful baby boy. My husband and i dont get along and sex is’nt great at all, i have thought of getting a divorce as a matter of fact we have discussed it but he does’nt really care, he says ‘if u want to get divorced then fine, go ahead’, that tells me he does’nt care about our marriage, the reason why i keep on changing my mind is simple, if we get divorced i have nowhere to go, i dont know what to do, please help me

    Reply
  • angel August 5, 2014, 7:42 pm

    I lv my husband but some times I feel he is no more intrsted to me we can’t divorce even he is nor undrstnding my feelings my thoughts what should I do

    Reply
  • lost August 25, 2014, 4:26 am

    I’m 23 and have a 2 year old son. His father and I have been on and off for 9 years. I can’t stand the thought of having sex with him. We don’t even live together but now he wants to. I hate being so shallow but when we have sex I feel violated, disgusted. I can’t stand looking up at him when he’s on top of me I can’t get into it. I’m in love with a guy who I love having sex with. I think of him always. If it wasn’t for my son I’d leave him. He loves me so much he manipulates me n threatens suicide when I mention breaking up with him. I could just die.

    Reply
  • disconnected September 5, 2014, 2:31 pm

    Hi ladies. I am in a similar situation as everyone else, but especially OP. Married at 1 year, it has been 7 now. We are expecting our first baby. My husband was even in denial that I could be pregnant because we have sex so rarely. I am not attracted to my husband and for years he said he was still attracted to me, but that my lack of passion has turned him off. I used to be extremely sexual. I feel that is part of the reason our sex was good in the beginning, because I was such a sex kitten. When we have sex, it sometimes still feels good. I have found that what I need now is more of a connection. When I was younger I was okay with meaningless sex, but being married and mostly monogamous ( I have sexted with someone in the past) I have found that I am just not turned on to be with only my husband. I desire other men, random guys who I have short conversations with who I find sexy. So I know that I am not dead inside. I really want my marriage to work, even though I had cold feet from the get go and our marriage has been basically sex less the whole time. I know it is not JUST my husband’s fault. And it is very easy to blame him. But it takes two. My biggest issue is that I do not always feel like I can talk to my husband about my true feelings because it hurts him so much. It crushes his spirit and changes the dynamics of our relationship, which worries me tremendously. We have to be open and honest with each other or we will never change and only grow further apart. We tried counseling at about year 3, but did not give it 100%. We also have watched couples help videos and he was kind of negative about the exercises and again we didn’t give it 100% at year 5. I have tried going on my own to therapy but ended up not liking the therapist. But she did ask me, do you love your husband? The answer is sometimes, but usually I do not really feel like I do, However, I still get little glimmers of my love for him and that gives me hope. He really is a great guy, and let’s face it NO ONE is perfect. The men that we lust over now, will likely end up having similar or worse problems, maybe it will be better. There is no way of honestly knowing. But, regardless, I believe if you want something to work you have to WORK at it. Marriage is NOT easy. My new favorite quotes: “The grass is greener on the other side because it has been fertilized with bullshit.” ” The grass is not greener on the other side, it is greener where you water it” Good luck and give it 100% or none.

    Reply
  • In the same boat September 18, 2014, 7:34 am

    I’m married for one year 3 months and my husband done show me love whatsoever!Only if he wants to then he will..we have sex once a week and we don’t even kiss only 3 to 4 pecks in a day wtf right?we have a 8 month old baby girl and he don’t really help me cos he feels it’s not his “job” when we dated he showed me this person that swept my feet off the ground and after marriage he completely changed!Im not sexually or physically attracted to him anymore agh and I’ve spoken to him about n still there’s no improvements i don’t want to waste my time on him cos I’m only 21

    Reply
  • stacie September 27, 2014, 9:53 am

    I have a partner and I love him but we never have sex. I recently met another man and we are really attracted to eachother. We text all the time and have met up but didn’t kiss or anything. I will cheat on my partner because I need sex and attention. I feel like my man is my best friend but not my lover. I dont know what to do. I love him but I need to be physically attracted to him and I am not. I hate myself for thinking this way but I just dont know what to do. I cant sleep and get so down about it.

    Reply
  • Jessica September 29, 2014, 1:56 pm

    I just came across this article and I have to say that I’m on the same boat. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 years, I love the man he is an amazing person but there’s no spark I don’t want him to touch me I cringe when he eludes to wanting to have sex or when he’s trying to be sex I can’t stand it I find it so disgusting. We are in therapy and for awhile we started having sex more then once a month..but I regressed back to not wanting him I even started fantasizing about an old high school friend that I ran into. I don’t know what to do I want to leave but I know I can’t because that means I would have to go back to leaving with my parents. Sometimes I hate being an adult lol.

    Reply
    • jc October 1, 2014, 4:11 pm

      That’s exactly how I feel! If this doesn’t work, I have to move back home and start all over! And that scares the crap out of me! And the affair I had was with a highschool crush! I don’t even care to touch my husband and don’t want him touching me ever. And he of course knows this and hates it. Makes him feel like shit. And we fight about it. But nothing ever really changes. Been this way for a few years now. Sucks. Not sure what to even do anymore. Just keep. trying or get the fuck out! Which is easier said then done.. .:(

      Reply
  • jc October 1, 2014, 4:05 pm

    I too am in same boat. I have been with my husband 5 years, married for 3 and I just don’t know how to get back to how we used to be in the beginning. Which is probably impossible… I miss the butterflies I got and the excitement and this kissing. I know it’s impossible to keep these exact feelings but I don’t know how to get over it. I have an affair two years ago. My husband forgave me right away but I know itstill huryhurts him. I know he loves me more then I love him and that just doesn’t seem fair. I can’t stop thinking about the guy I had an affair with. We had history and I can’t seem to forget about him. Which makes it harder. Just can’t help but wonder if my husband and I both could be happier with different people. Since we fight constantly. I feel we bring out each others worst sometimes. I know love and relationships aren’t perfect but they have to be better then this!? No?….. Ugh. So hard

    Reply
  • Ashley October 1, 2014, 8:19 pm

    I just thought I’d update….we lasted 2 months and then I decided my soul will be destroyed if I stay with someone I’m not connected to. I know I would end up having affairs again so to be kind to both of us we need to let each other go. I told him 2 weeks ago. He took it quite well as he could feel that I wasn’t happy. I am looking for my own place now and the sheer RELIEF I feel is incredible. I know I’m in for a hard road financially and also having to juggle single parenthood will be a challenge, but I know I’ve made the right decision. Ladies, I don’t believe that we should stay in relationships where we have zero physical attraction for our husbands. It’s a recipe for disaster for everyone involved. You need to dig deep, be gutsy, learn how to adapt to new living situations and allow yourself the chance to have a full relationship. It does exist!! Good luck everyone.

    Reply
  • Sarah October 5, 2014, 2:54 am

    I find it so reassuring to hear that I am not the only woman with this issue. I have been with my husband for 17 years but married for 7. I was 18 when we met and still exploring my sexuality. I remember being excited by him and falling in love with him. Over the last several years though, sex has become a chore and I have no interest in him sexually anymore.

    I can identify with so many of the comments I have read here. I do love my husband and have tried to leave him before but couldn’t follow through. I have had several affairs but recognize that the sexual attraction alone is not enough to build another relationship on. I want to have it all with my husband but am becoming more and more discouraged. My lack of interest as well as other stressors in our marriage often cause arguments. He believes it is a physical problem and encourages me to seek medical help. I know that it is not but I am too afraid to tell him because I know he will be hurt.

    We do not have children but do have other family circumstances that make things complicated. I desperately want to believe that I can “fake it” enough to make him happy but also know that it’s not fair for either of us. Has anyone managed to get the spark back?

    Reply
  • renee October 17, 2014, 9:16 am

    Ok im married so im supposed to be devoted but he isnt ? i’m only attracted to only a very few guys far and inbetweeny idk what the hell is wrong with me yet?because i’m just starting to realize and i want to take action!!!!

    Reply
  • Stteve October 20, 2014, 10:21 am

    These comment are very sad but interesting to me nonetheless.My wife finally got the intestinal fortitude to admit to me that she had an attraction issue with me. Of course, I already knew that and planted the seed that this might be an issue. This was painful for her and me. However, unless we are completely and brutally honest with ourselves and our significant others there really is no hope for change. Of course once a problem is identified, we need a solution and that is what can be illusive. One issue that is difficult in the admission is the feeling of being deceived. I think I felt cheated because she had hidden her feelings for over 30 years. At least she thought she was hiding her feelings as the reality is that they were manifest in many other ways, ie. lack of desire, passion for sex, weight gain, lack of self care etc..My first thought was that if you did not have feelings for me why did you not let me go and find someone who did. Not that I wanted to or would have but at least it would have been my choice. I think there is a lot of selfishness here–it certainly is not love. My opinion is that these issues are very complex and require an extreme amount of self examination concerning one’s motivations and desires. The reasons we select our partners to begin with probably put the ship in motion and the problems cascade from there. Many times these feelings are about our unhappiness with ourselves that we project onto others. If we do not get validated from our partners, then we become resentful. In my case, I do not think my wife was ready to married but I managed to manipulate and guilt her into it because I wanted her. Of course, she did not have the ability to admit to herself that she was not ready and saw me as a way to escape from an oppressive family environment and she was attracted to the fact that I seemed to have a life plan and she was just floating around. What was interesting is that during our first conflict, she turned me into her father figure (how attractive is that) and of course he ruled the roost with fear and anger. Her coping mechanism in her family was to please and appease. She felt she did not have the right to form or express her own opinion. Thus, rather than stand up for herself when we had a conflict, she just gave in and would do what was necessary to resolve the conflict. This went on for over 30 years. So she did not feel she was an equal in our “partnership” and grew resentful and full of self loathing for her lack of ability to be her own person. She is still struggling with identity issues. She just does not know who she is or who she wants to become. Until this is at least to some degree resolved, it is going to be difficult for her in any relationship, including the present one.

    Reply

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