The beginning of most romantic relationships tends to be all about desire, passion, and curiosity for one another.
But what if you’ve been with your spouse for several years already? As time goes by, the fire between many couples would die down until it extinguishes completely.
Does that mean you have to settle for a sexless marriage just so you can preserve the sanctity of your vows?
While there are no definitive statistics to show how many marriages break because of this, Tony Robbins estimates around 50% of divorces in the US could be attributed to the lack of intimacy between the couple.
As you can see, you have the option to stay married and try to work things out with your partner or to free yourself and walk away from the marriage.
Don’t force yourself to leave if you’re not sure that the relationship is beyond saving. However, pay careful attention when you spot some red flags!
In this article, I will share with you the 10 signs to look out for so you’d know when to walk away from sexless marriage.
Go through each point, and reflect if any of these warning signs are present in your marriage.
Sign #1: Your Partner Doesn’t think your relationship needs Professional Help
Going to couple’s therapy or counseling should be one of the first few steps to remedy the absence of sexual intimacy in your marriage. It’s not something that you could do with an unwilling partner, though.
If your spouse continually refuses to seek help-or at least discuss the matter-then how else could the issues in your sex life be resolved?
Neither therapy nor counseling can guarantee satisfactory results.
However, your partner’s reluctance to acknowledge that your relationship requires professional help does not bode well at all.
This lack of understanding and cooperation would likely take a toll on your marriage-just like what happened between Jerry and Ann, who were married for 15 years at the time.
Ann recalled how Jerry had avoided the topic whenever he could. Being stuck in a sexless marriage made her feel awful already. Understandably, her husband’s poor attitude towards the matter just made things worse.
Eventually, the lack of action, so to speak, had led Ann to file for divorce.
Sign #2: Your Sex Desires can no longer Match Each Other
While it’s normal for a married couple to have mismatched libidos throughout the relationship, the situation becomes hopeless when the incompatibility has turned permanent.
Have you ever wanted to engage in sexual activity with your spouse, but for whatever reason, they were not in the mood for it? How did that make you feel?
For Carl, who had been married to Felicia since the late 90s, the rejection caused him to feel upset and inadequate. He believed his wife no longer found him sexually attractive.
On the other hand, Felicia felt pressured to oblige when she had an unusually low sex drive at the time.
Now, imagine this scenario turning into a cycle of hurt and disappointment. The continual rejection due to incompatible sex drives could break down any marriage.
Sign #3: Chronic or degenerative health problems hinder sexual activities with your partner.
Chronic health problems have been pointed out as one of the primary causes for the lack of sexual intercourse in some marriages. Common examples include erectile dysfunction among men and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among women.
On the other hand, degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) could completely prevent couples from being physically intimate.
Many of these health problems have no proven and effectual cure, unfortunately.
Therefore, if the main reason for the issues in your relationship could be traced back to these health problems, it might be best to part ways with your partner.
Sign #4: You mostly feel resentment towards your spouse.
Some people could make peace with a sexless marriage. After all, true love does not always have to involve sexual intimacy.
However, if your spouse’s lack of bedroom activities has been filling you up with resentment instead, it may be best for you to walk away from the relationship.
In some cases, open and honest communication could do the trick to reduce or eliminate these negative feelings. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for everybody.
If your resentment towards your partner has become deep-seated and all-consuming, don’t force yourself to ignore or suppress your feelings.
You’re allowed to expect a healthy sex life with your spouse. Leave the toxicity behind before it causes irreparable damage to you and your loved ones.
Sign #5: Toxic relationship issues have broken your sexual bond with your partner.
Rejecting sexual advances isn’t the only thing that could cause resentment to build up between couples. Relationship problems like manipulation, gaslighting, and trust issues could also affect your sex life with your spouse.
Going to couple’s therapy or counseling may address and reduce the toxicity in your relationship. However, you can’t be sure that the suggested solutions aren’t just temporary fixes.
These relationship problems wouldn’t damage just your sex life, though. They may lead to domestic abuse, mental abuse, and emotional anguish, too.
Don’t turn a blind eye to these toxic relationship issues! There’s no shame in breaking a marriage that only makes you feel awful about your partner and yourself.
Sign #6: Sex has become your partner’s tool to control you.
In the case of Mario and Helen, the supposed loving act of sexual intimacy had turned into a means of exerting and maintaining control over the relationship.
Helen would typically withhold sex from her husband as a passive-aggressive way of punishing him.
At first, Mario had tried to change his behavior just to fulfill his sexual needs.
If you were in his shoes, would this be a reason for you to walk away from the broken marriage?
Mario believed so. Over time, he had gotten tired of his wife’s manipulative act.
Helen’s attempt to control the relationship had led to a sexless marriage, and ultimately, divorce.
Sign #7: You won’t have sex with your spouse because they had been unfaithful to you.
Trust can be hard to gain back once it has been broken. It’s like trying to glue back a mirror that has shattered into pieces.
Most people who stay married despite their spouse cheating on them believe that things will never be the same again in their relationship. Still, they decided to give their partners a second chance-usually for the sake of children or their reputation.
The thing is, engaging in sexual activities with another person requires a certain degree of trust between one another. That’s in the wake of infidelity; having sex with your partner is not an option.
Assuming that your partner would get over the incident eventually since they didn’t break the marriage right away tends to be a big mistake. Without showing genuine remorse and trying to regain their trust, this sexless state of the marriage would likely lead to the couple’s separation or divorce.
Sign #8: Your sexless marriage has led to infidelity.
If your spouse has not cheated on you because of your non-existent sex life, then there’s a chance that they might seek sexual gratification from a third party.
This happened to Mark when he could not convince his wife Abby to resume their sexual relations after she had recovered from childbirth. Having failed to understand why Abby didn’t want to have sex with him at the time, he gave in to the temptation of having an affair with a co-worker.
Not surprisingly, Abby felt incredibly hurt over Mark’s betrayal of their vows. This led her to a downward spiral that ended when she filed for divorce.
In some cases, both husband and wife are looking for someone else who can satisfy their needs. Why would they cheat on one another, given that they are interested in having sex?
It could be that their sexual interests no longer match each other. Resentment may also be a driving force for mutual infidelity.
Regardless of the situation, looking outside your marriage to fulfill your needs for physical intimacy should be viewed as a big sign that you have to walk away from this relationship.
Sign #9: You want to have sex but not with your spouse.
The absence of sexual attraction between married couples does not mean that they would not feel attracted to other people as well.
A prolonged dry spell in the bedroom might lead you or your partner—or even both of you—to fantasize about being intimate with someone else. After all, many consider sex as one of their basic needs.
Such fantasies tend to be harmless in some cases. However, for sexless marriages, it could be a sign that the time to part ways has come.
Rather than commit adultery, consider ending the marriage. Take this as a healthier way of getting your needs met without completely ruining your reputation and morals.
There’s a chance that your attraction to someone else might just be a passing fancy. You might also think that these feelings will not translate into good sexual chemistry.
So, how would you know if it’s right to walk away from the marriage then?
If you have strong urges to act on your fantasies, don’t tear yourself apart by feeling guilty over them. Your marriage does not fulfill you completely, and you have the option to move on to better things in life.
Staying in a sexless marriage won’t help you suppress the attraction you feel for another person. Some even believe that it’s human nature to want something you cannot have.
Hurt and confusion tend to be inevitable in this case, but that’s part of the process of healing from a broken marriage. Eventually, you and your partner might thank each other for going after what you truly desire.
Sign #10: No significant progress has been made despite your efforts to improve your sex life as a couple.
While it’s commendable that you and your partner have been trying to resolve the issue, take the time to pause and reflect on your progress.
Do you believe that marriage counseling helped you understand better the root cause of your sexual problems concerning your spouse?
Has sex therapy demonstrated to you the ways to address the sexual incompatibilities between you and your partner?
What improvements in your sex life could have been achieved since you and your spouse had started to be more open about the absence of sex in your marriage?
Be honest with yourself when answering these questions. It would be much better if you could also reflect on your responses together with your partner.
If there hadn’t been any breakthrough despite your efforts, then it may be best to end the marriage.
Instead, focus on moving on from the sexless relationship. Use your time and energy to find better ways to make you feel happy and loved.
The Bottom Line
Marriages may endure even if sex is off the table. As long as the couple loves and respects each other, they can be happy together for years and years to come.
However, if you and your partner lack either of these feelings, it might be best to break your vows and seek happiness elsewhere.
Your relationship does not define you as a person. Therefore, a failed marriage should not haunt you or prevent you from loving yourself or another person.
Instead, taking the option to walk away from a sexless marriage shows that you are strong enough to end something that you once thought would last for a lifetime.
Be honest with yourself and your partner. Acknowledge that the marriage is not fulfilling you anymore because of the lack of sexual intimacy.
Stay on the lookout for the signs we have discussed in this article, but don’t forget that it helps to talk things through with your spouse. Seeking the help of a marriage counselor or sex therapist might also be the key to having a loving and healthy relationship.
Go through the probable solutions that might save your marriage. If you have exhausted all options, though, don’t force yourself to keep going.
In the absence of love and respect, a sexless marriage would shackle you down with misery and longing.
Be kinder to yourself and your partner by walking away from the marriage.