What Do I Do If My Husband Isn't Attracted to Me?
A partner losing attraction to their spouse is not uncommon. Physical attraction, or the "spark" that separates romantic love from friendship, can be affected by factors other than physical appearance. However, even if your husband isn't attracted to you now, that doesn't mean the attraction is gone forever. Attraction naturally waxes and wanes between all partners throughout a marriage; it does not mean the relationship has reached the end.
Working with your husband to bring the spark back to your marriage is worthwhile. Evidence suggests that sexual satisfaction is strongly correlated with marital satisfaction. The link between sexual intimacy and satisfaction in a relationship is well-known to most partners, which is one reason why it can be so distressing when one partner isn't attracted to the other. Don't put your marriage on the line too quickly. If you and your husband are willing to work together, you can bring the spark back to your marriage.
Can A Marriage Work Without Physical Attraction?
Almost any dynamic will work in a marriage if both partners' needs are met. For example, some marriages are asexual by choice, meaning that there is little or no sexual intimacy between each spouse. Happy asexual marriages exist because both partners feel little need for sex overall, not just with their partner. Because neither partner needs physical attraction, the lack of sexual intimacy does not negatively impact the marriage.
If one spouse in a relationship experiences sexual attraction and the other does not, the marriage is likely to have problems. Imbalanced sexual desire between spouses is a common cause of difficulties in a marriage. While there are other causes of imbalanced sexual desire, a lack of attraction can undoubtedly introduce problems with sexual intimacy.
While a marriage can certainly work without physical attraction or sexual intimacy, the dynamic is uncommon. Most couples agree that sexual intimacy is a necessary component of marriage and that without physical attraction, sexual intimacy becomes challenging to achieve. However, many factors contribute to attraction besides appearance.
Barriers To Attraction
Most couples report a steady decline in physical attraction to their partner over time. Sexual intimacy and physical attraction are usually at their peak at the start of the relationship. Physical attraction declines over time due to various factors, appearance being only one of many. Your physical appearance is one small part of what makes you attractive. When one partner is no longer attracted to the other, there are often barriers present that aren't related to physical appearance.
Lack Of Non-Sexual Intimacy
In long-term relationships, physical attraction is significantly affected by quality time spent together. The feelings that come from spending quality time with a partner, like closeness and togetherness, drives physical attraction throughout the marriage. Despite common misconceptions, this is as true for men as it is for women. If your husband isn't attracted to you, it is worth exploring the connection you have with him outside of the bedroom.
When considering your relationship with your husband outside of sex or physical attraction, keep in mind these common forms of non-sexual intimacy:
- Emotional Intimacy. Emotional intimacy comes from trust and openness. Deep conversations, shared secrets, and letting your partner express their feelings openly are all forms of emotional intimacy.
- Mental Intimacy. Mental intimacy comes from learning new things together. Reading and discussing new books or taking a class together are both forms of mental intimacy.
- Experiential Intimacy. Experiential intimacy comes from working together towards a common goal. Working on chores or home improvement projects together is a great way to boost experiential intimacy.
If you and your husband are struggling to find quality time to bond together through non-sexual activities, like shared hobbies, warm conversations, or the pursuit of similar goals, you'll likely have trouble bonding sexually. Empathetic quality time is necessary for emotional security, and emotional security is necessary for a healthy love life. You and your husband both need to feel safe, close, and free from judgment. A high level of cohesion and affection not only increases emotional security, it significantly increases the physical desire men feel for their partner.
Lack Of Positive Interactions
If you bring positivity to your husband, he is more likely to find you attractive. If you are critical of his interests, hobbies, or aspirations, that can translate to a lack of desire for sexual intimacy. Every partner makes a negative or dismissive comment now and again, but a sustained lack of positivity will reduce the quality of your marriage in every area, including physical attraction.
The research of John Gottman, a psychologist and relationship expert, revealed a ratio of positive to negative interactions that can predict success in a marriage with 90 percent accuracy. His findings suggest that it takes five positive interactions to "undo" a negative one. Negativity carries more weight than positivity, and it takes significantly more positivity than negativity to maintain a healthy marriage and sex life.
Lack of Communication
Kind, empathetic communication is necessary for a healthy relationship. It is especially important when discussing issues related to physical intimacy. Your husband needs to know how you feel, why you think he isn't attracted to you, and your ideas for fixing the issue. Your husband also deserves a chance to voice his thoughts and concerns respectfully and empathetically.
If you feel you cannot speak to your husband about your concerns, you need to address communication tackling physical attraction. Working together to increase communication will give you and your husband the tools to restore physical attraction and intimacy.
How To Increase Your Husband's Attraction To You
Most of the work to maintain physical attraction happens away from your love life. Improving your and your husband's non-sexual intimacy is likely the first step to take on the journey to improve your sex life. Here are some common ways spouses work together to keep the spark alive:
Effective communication in a marriage is kind, loving, empathetic, and non-judgmental. It can be difficult to maintain good communication, but doing so significantly increases intimacy. When intimacy increases, you and your husband are more likely to find each other attractive.
John Gottman recommends three tips for improving communication in a relationship:
- Tell each other what you want rather than what you don't want. Focus on presenting your needs to your husband rather than criticizing his actions.
- Respond to each other with open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are designed to provoke a thoughtful response; they generally are framed to avoid "yes" or "no" responses.
- Express gratitude for being heard. If your husband is taking the time to listen and understand your concerns and is willing to work on the issue, be sure to show appreciation for his effort.
Mutual respect is essential for positivity and closeness in a relationship. A relationship that lacks respect is not ready to address concerns of physical intimacy. If you aren't consistently respectful to your husband, or him to you, that should be the primary focus. However, even if the relationship is generally respectful, adding extra respect can boost physical attraction.
Common respectful behaviors include supporting each other's goals, acknowledging your spouse's unique traits, and giving each other space when needed. Extra positivity is also a welcome addition. Your husband will likely respond positively to extra compliments or kind gestures.
Schedule Sexual Intimacy
When you and your husband are sexually intimate, your attraction to each other grows. A lack of physical attraction is often a problem of initiating sex, not of the sex itself. Talk to your husband about scheduling time for sexual intimacy and ask him to commit to it, even if he isn't "in the mood." Regularly scheduled intimate encounters, called maintenance sex, can significantly increase attraction to one's partner outside the bedroom.
How Can Online Therapy Help?
Online therapy is a simple way to access a therapist who can help you and your husband reconnect. Licensed therapists and counselors are familiar with the common pitfalls in marriages that lead to a lack of physical attraction and are trained to handle them. Working with a counselor is an effective method to resolve conflicts in a marriage, and most partners who meet with a counselor see an improvement in their marital satisfaction. Meeting with a therapist online removes some barriers to traditional therapy, like traveling to a physical office or being restricted to only nearby therapists. Your sessions are conducted from home and use methods that are just as effective as traditional therapy.
If your husband is no longer attracted to you, it might feel like the end of your marriage. This is not the case. The attraction between spouses regularly comes and goes as the marriage progresses. There are solutions if you're stuck in a lengthy period of limited attraction. The best way to improve physical attraction is to improve non-physical attraction. Increasing quality time and positivity with your partner greatly improves attraction. Communication is also essential; if you and your partner can't communicate we
- Previous Article
- Next Article