Alhamdulillah, we seemed to be compatible. Our personalities also matched as we both have caring, friendly personalities. We both try to practice our religion as much as possible; if it’s allowed in Islam we do it, if it isn’t, we don’t.
Up until the end of December (13 months into marriage) we lived happily. I always turn to the stories of the Prophets and Sahabas (Companions) and the women in Islam when dealing with my husband as my goal has been to try to be a good wife who pleases her husband and ultimately pleases Allah.
My husband, in return, has been very caring towards me, very considerate, never asking too much of me and having a gentle approach. During this time, we had many joyful moments; we traveled abroad, socialized together, I spent time with his family and so did he with mine. We had a good intimate relationship, too.
Now, you’re probably wondering what the problem is. At the end of December, my husband broke down in front of me and said that he didn’t like being with me. He isn’t the best person at communicating, so it has taken us several weeks to get to the bottom of this, although I can’t say we have already found the cause of it.
As you can imagine, it hasn’t been easy for me. He was the love of my life and I devoted everything to him over the last year!
How could he say he didn’t want to be with me? Where did I go wrong? What’s wrong with me?
Anyway, he went on saying how was ‘pretending’ the whole time that he was happy in this marriage. He liked neither this marriage, nor being with me. He expressed he wasn’t attracted to me or had a connection with me. I couldn’t believe this!
If he felt this way, how could he have an intimate relationship with me? How has he managed to stay calm with me and tolerate me all this time without showing signs of frustration? I asked him how he wanted to proceed. He decided he needed some time to figure out what he was going to do, if he was going to stay with me or if we should go our separate ways. I told him I didn’t see this as an option as our marriage was sound.
Looking at it from an Islamic point of view, it had all the foundations of a good marriage, one with two people in it who could potentially have something beautiful. I told him no one would accept his reasons as valid reasons to end a marriage as I couldn’t even accept them.
Anyway, over the last 6 weeks, we have been carrying on with this. I don’t know if he is trying or still pretending, but he seems to be making an effort with me and I have been patient with him. During this time, our communication as a couple has improved; however, we have not had any intimacy. He said he couldn’t bring himself to have intercourse with me. If I kiss him or try to seduce him, I get nothing back from him, although he does hug me and offer me massages after a tiring day. I don’t know what to make of this (mixed messages).
Eventually, last week, I spoke to him about this again. I asked how he was feeling and if his feeling of separation had changed. He said he still felt the same way, he didn’t know what he was feeling; all he knew was he wanted to be alone, not in this marriage with me. I explained the reality to him that as he is 37, he may struggle to find someone if he does go his own way.
I just need some advice; what should I do? What could he possibly be going through? He is a decent God-fearing person; how can he say these things?
Please note, I have asked if there is another woman or if he might be depressed, but his answer was no to both, and I do believe him.
In this counseling answer:
• I encourage you to seek support from local sources like family or community centers.
• Try to find out what’s the reason your husband is not attracted to you; stressful life, past trauma, SSA, porn addiction, or else?
• May not be a sexual person: some of us are not as excited by sex as the general population.
As-Salaam ’Alaikum sister,
I understand how shocked and painful you must have felt when your husband said he was “pretending” and that there was “no connection or attraction” despite having an ideal relationship “on paper.”
However, the human being can sometimes do amazing things out of guilt in order to cope with true inner feelings.
Sometimes, we go above and beyond what we actually feel, using defense mechanisms like repression, avoidance, and projection. Sometimes, we really try to enjoy and see the good, but sometimes our authentic experiences take over and we break down, which sounds like the episode you recently experienced.
There are a number of things your husband could be going through right now.
I will do my best to share some possible reasons. They may not be true for your husband, but bringing them to light may help you see things more clearly and help you observe more keenly.
Regardless, I believe it is a good idea for him to speak to someone about it. He needs to process his feelings and understand what is coming up for him and why. Only then can he make a decision from a clear and sound place.
You should encourage him to speak with a counselor, close friend, imam, or family member he trusts. You should not make him feel bad about his feelings, and you should not make him feel guiltier than he already does.
Firstly, yes, on paper the marriage seems sound. However, the reality is that it is sound to you and not your husband. Unfortunately, he has been having a different experience you have.
At the end of the day, sister, you do not want to be with someone who is pretending to love you or fakes his feelings in this marriage.
This is not to say he does not have feelings, care, and love for you, but it may not be the quality of a marital partnership and Allah (swt), Most High, knows best.
Yes, “Islamically” speaking there is a lot of good to work with here and both of you should continue investing in your marriage and working things out. Use your improvement of communication for this purpose.
Some reasons why this may be happening:
Your husband was not attracted to you, to begin with, and tried the marriage based on your good character and that you two got along. After some time, he realized the attraction issue remained and he is unable to go on.
A sound relationship without passionate and romantic attraction is called friendship. Sometimes two people make great friends but not romantic partners. Ideally, we want both in a marriage, however, it is not always so.
Your husband was attracted to you, but…
Maybe your husband was attracted to you but he is now losing interest for one reason or another. It could be because he is engaging with other images of women through pornography.
Pornography always makes attraction to our partners decrease because we now have a highly sensationalized framework of sexuality that does not compete with reality.
Check out this counseling video:
If he is observing porn usage, he may be too ashamed to admit it. He may have interests in other women or is being pressured by someone to consider other marriage options.
Past sexual trauma or abuse? People, who have had trauma around sexuality, their bodies tend to be blocked from enjoying sex or even approaching it. I
f your husband had any events in his past like abuse, it is important for him to see a trauma therapist to overcome these blocks. Ignoring it will only make it worse.
Suffering from SSA? Same-sex attraction is a possibility. There are many reasons an individual may have SSA, and this will obviously distract the person from the opposite sex.
Again, this requires a therapeutic process that should not be ignored. He may be realizing this now and more so that he feels no interest in intimacy.
Again, this is a very shameful reality for some, and he may use the excuse that he is not attracted to you when actually he struggles with being attracted to women altogether.
Maybe He’s Just Not a Sexual Person
May not be a sexual person: some of us are not as excited by sex as the general population. There are individuals who find sex repulsive and dirty. These individuals sometimes have obsessive-compulsive disorder towards cleanliness and find it difficult to engage in such a physically vulnerable experience like sex.
Getting needs met elsewhere: when people are getting their sexual needs met elsewhere, they avoid sexual participation with their partner and show little interest. This can be due to affairs or usage of pornography.
We must assume the best of your husband sister, but now you are aware of some of the possible reasons why your husband has had a recent change of heart.
It is also possible that there are other reasons besides the ones I mentioned; therefore, do not think it must be one of the above.
I encourage you to seek support from local sources like family or community centers.
I understand this is a private topic that can be shameful for you, but we must remember that the companions of the Prophet (saw) did not withhold their questions out of shame. They used to ask whatever they needed from the Prophet as he was the greatest of counselors.
It is better to know the truth and cure issues than to suffer in silence and perpetuate an ill. God knows best.
May God (swt) give you clarity and help you to find a loving bond with your husband, Amin.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.