"I'm not attracted to my spouse anymore!
Can my marriage be saved?"
By Susie and Otto Collins
"We've grown apart and both have changed so much. I don't
even find him attractive anymore," Julia describes the
current state of her marriage to her friend.
Julia feels sad, frustrated and even a little guilty. She is
tired of being in a lifeless marriage with so much distance
and so little joy.
She sometimes wonders if it's time to split up, but a part
of her is not ready to give up on her marriage.
Do you find yourself wondering why you stay in your current
marriage or love relationship?
Perhaps, like Julia, you feel turned off by your mate.
Whether or not you want to admit it, when you aren't
attracted to your partner anymore, it is both a cause and an
effect of a dull and distant
It's difficult to say with absolute certainty that your
partner has changed in some way-- either physically,
emotionally or in some mixture of ways-- and that's why you
don't find him or her alluring anymore.
A change in your mate might actually be the cause. Or, it
might not. Chances are, it's far more complex than this.
Quite often, when one person stops finding his or her mate
attractive, a lack of trust is involved.
It could be that you and your partner are trying to pick up
the pieces of your relationship after one (or both) of you
had an affair.
It could be that you have been lied to by him or her and you
are literally looking at your partner differently than
It could be that one or both of you are jealous and that has
It could be that you've recently become aware of displeasing
habits that you had no idea your mate had.
When trust is weakened or broken, the effects can be
Focus on you, not your spouse.
Julia decides to take an honest assessment of her marriage
and make some decisions about her future.
She is upset about the disconnection between she and her
husband and does not want to be
with a man who is unattractive to her.
First of all, Julia takes a deeper look at what's changed
within her that may be playing a role in all of this.
A big change that Julia recognizes is her new passion for
fitness and healthier eating. About a year ago, Julia's
father was diagnosed with diabetes, largely due to his poor
diet and lack of exercise.
Since that wake up call, Julia has radically changed her own
diet and exercise habits. At first, she frequently urged her
husband to join her, but he was never interested. Finally,
she gave up in
Julia's frequent visits to the gym while her husband stays
home is still a sore point for them both.
Look at aspects of your own life-- internally and
externally-- that may have changed.
These might be very positive changes for you, but
they include unintended side effects that may mean you now
view your partner and his or her choices in a less than
Pay particular attention to changes
that might have affected trust.
Focus on your relationship.
Have you or your partner gone through significant
transitions in terms of health, career, extended family,
spiritual or religious beliefs or potentially addictive
habits (alcohol, drugs or cigarettes)?
Take these into account. Many times, when one of you
experiences a major change, unexpected stresses can occur in
Try not to make this a "He did _______ and I don't approve."
Or, "She can't understand why I now _______. "
Instead, pay attention to the changes that have occurred for
one or both of you and the reaction that you each have
related to the changes-- this may be creating some distance.
Julia is proud of her new, healthier lifestyle. It seems
that the more in shape she gets, the more lazy and
overweight her husband becomes...in her eyes.
When Julia steps back and shifts her perspective, she can
acknowledge that her husband hasn't gained any weight. He
just isn't interested in fitness and diet the way that she
She admits that the fact that her husband hasn't ever
praised or appreciated her trimmer body hurts her feelings.
Julia can also see how her pushing about this new lifestyle
has possibly contributed to her husband closing down.
Focus on what you CAN do to improve your relationship.
We are not suggesting that this is all your fault.
We also are not saying that in order to strengthen trust and
save your marriage you are the only one to fix things.
What we are recommending is that you decide whether or not
you want to stay in this marriage.
Give yourself that choice.
If you decide to stay (even for a trial period), do your
part in improving your relationship.
This might mean that you start looking for what you DO find
attractive or pleasing about your mate. Stop focusing only
on what turns you off or offends you.
This might also mean that you praise and show your
appreciation for those aspects of his or her behavior or
appearance that you would like to see more of.
Julia begins to acknowledge it to herself when she sees her
husband eat a salad with his dinner. She's also remembering
to compliment him when he looks handsome in a particular
This isn't about forcing yourself to find your partner
Instead, it is about reminding yourself that you have chosen
to be in this marriage and, then, to choose to open up to
the things about your spouse that you do like, appreciate
and find alluring.
Acknowledge these pleasing aspects and notice how your
feelings for your mate might change...for the better.