By: Leslie Cane: This is a very common concern. Sometimes, the wives who contact me about this just suspect that their husband isn’t attracted to them anymore. They notice that he doesn’t initiate contact or want to have sex nearly as much. Or, he rarely (if ever) compliments them on their appearance anymore. Sometimes, he seems almost ashamed to be seen with them. Other times, the husband has very directly told the wife that he isn’t attracted to her anymore. Hearing these words can be worse than having to guess or wonder.
I recently heard from a wife who was in this same situation. She had been repeatedly asking her husband what was wrong with him because he never seemed to want to be intimate with her. Finally after she continued to bring the topic up repeatedly, the husband blurted out that he was no longer attracted to her. She said, in part: “he didn’t say it in a mean way. In fact, I could tell that he didn’t want to say anything at all but he felt the need to be honest with me and to give me answers. He said that he didn’t want to hurt me but that he was no longer attracted to me in a physical, sexual way. He said he still loved me as his wife and as the mother of his kids but that he no longer gets a charge out of or is aroused by my body, which has changed quite a bit since we first got married. I’ve had three kids in a very short time and I’ve put on some weight. Also, with three small kids underfoot, I don’t spend as much time on my appearance. So, I can’t deny that there are changes in me. But there are changes in him too. He’s gained weight and lost some hair and I’m still attracted to and love him. Why can’t he do the same? And does this mean the end of my marriage? Can I save my marriage even though he’s no longer physically attracted to me? I think our love and our marriage is so much deeper than this, but I know that men usually don’t feel the same way.”
I know that this likely felt like a horrible situation to this wife. No one wants to hear their spouse say that he or she isn’t attracted to you anymore. But, I have to tell you that, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the biggest or most devastating marital problem that you can have. In my experience, there are much more difficult issues to overcome like infidelity, differing outlooks and lifestyles, or complete incompatibility. None of these were the issue here. The husband was clear on the fact that he still loved his wife on the inside. He just wasn’t as excited about her outward appearance, at least right now. I don’t mean to diminish this issue. It absolutely hurt the wife and it had to be addressed right away. But I didn’t feel that it was a problem that was insurmountable or had to lead to divorce.
Before You Consider Any Dramatic Changes To Your Appearance, Consider That Sometimes Attractiveness Has Less To Do With Your Looks And More To Do With An Emotional Connection And The Effort That You Put Into Your Marriage: Many wives in this situation automatically want to make drastic changes in their appearance hoping that this will automatically fix the problem. That’s often just a temporary band aid. Because plenty of happily married men have wives whose appearance changes over the years and yet those husbands are still very attracted to their wives. Of course, the loyalty and the personality of the people involved will always come into play, but much of the time, attraction has as much to do with the health of the relationship and the confidence and security portrayed by those in it as it does with how you actually look. In other words, if spouses are firmly bonded and enjoying the relationship, they are much more likely to see their spouse more positively and these perceptions include physical attraction.
The wife admitted that she rarely had time for herself, let alone for her husband. I suspected that if both of them gave themselves permission to prioritize their marriage as well as their own self care they might see some differences in how they felt about themselves and about one another. Because here’s something that folks in this situation sometimes forget. It’s not as if this husband were never attracted to his wife. It’s not as if she didn’t find the physical attributes that he had found attractive all along. It’s just that, with the stress of trying to juggle their growing and busy family, it’s likely that his perceptions had changed. Of course, the wife admitted that her appearance had changed but I doubted that it had changed so dramatically that there was nothing left. And I felt that focusing on the relationship as much as her appearance could yield the best results.
If You’re Going To Tweak Your Appearance, Make Sure That You Do So Based On What Will Make You Feel Confident And Happy. (You Should Not Change What You Like Or Who You Are Just For Someone Else:) In my view and experience, confidence and personality are both such a huge part of attraction. Women who are confident and outgoing are seen as much more attractive than those who are doubtful and withdrawn. We’ve all known women who aren’t all that attractive to us but who have legions of admirers because of their personality and their confidence. Of course, the wife immediately wanted to diet and change her outward appearance, but doing so without thinking very hard about it first likely wasn’t going to do much for her confidence level. That’s why it’s so important to ask yourself what is most important and attractive to you.
The weight issue had been bothering the wife long before her husband mentioned anything so it was probably appropriate that she address this if it made her feel better about herself and prioritized her own health. I felt that reaching out to her husband and making weight loss a journey that they took together would be a good idea. After all, he could stand to lose a few pounds himself and working out together could be time for them to reconnect. Once the husband saw the wife’s efforts and spent more time with her, I suspected that things would improve. As far as hair, make up and clothes go, I feel that it’s important to look your best so that you feel good about what you’re putting out there. But I would never encourage you to look or dress in such a way that makes you uncomfortable or that you yourself don’t like and didn’t choose.
Always remember that people who are connecting regularly will likely feel more attracted to one another as the result. What you put into something is usually an indicator of what you will get out of it. And if you are giving and receiving affection with enthusiasm, really listening to your spouse, and participating in give in take, this is very attractive as well.
So, to answer the question posed, yes, I do feel that it’s entirely possible to save your marriage when your husband says he’s not attracted to you. Because attraction encompasses so many different things. And frankly, once the relationship improves and your husband sees and effort, it’s likely that the attraction will return.
When my husband and I were having problems, I suspect that my husband wasn’t all that attracted to me. But I think that this was a reflection on the state of our marriage as much as it was my looks. Thankfully, the relationship is where I placed my attention first and this got me the results that I wanted. If it helps, read more of that personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/