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DEAR CAROLYN: My husband and I have been married 10 years. We do not have kids; neither of us wanted them.

Before we married, we did not have sex, but he was very interested in fooling around. Almost since the day we married, though, he has shown a lack of interest in sex. If I initiated it, he was all in, but after a couple of years I realized it was always me. So I held back. And nothing happened. Ever.

We talked about it, and he gave a litany of excuses. We're busy. You've been sick. I am so tired when I get home. I'm sorry. I will fix it.

This conversation happened every couple of months for a couple of years, same excuses, same promises. No change, no sex.

He agreed to go to therapy and get his testosterone tested. (It's fine.) I found out recently that in over a year, he has never brought it up with his therapist. He talks about his relationship with his brother.

A year ago I told him I felt so neglected I was certain I would not be able to resist if someone else showed interest. He initiated once since that conversation.

I don't know what to do. He clearly loves me, is very nice and supportive and everyone is jealous of my wonderful, handsome husband. I am sure he isn't having an affair, and he seems to enjoy sex on the rare occasion that it happens. But I feel ugly, unwanted and alone.

My therapist doesn't get it. She says since he doesn't turn me down when I ask for it, there isn't a problem, but I can't stand the thought of initiating sex myself anymore; it feels like begging. It's not the not-having-sex that's the problem. It's that he doesn't want me.

I don't want to leave him. It's not like anyone else is knocking at my door, and he's my best friend. But I just feel so worthless.

-- Unwanted Wife

DEAR READER: I am so sorry you have to make this awful choice.

But you do have to make it: Stay, with this ugly feeling; or go, with no certainties about what comes next.

Except one. Leaving comes with the certainty your life will be different from this. Different from life as a hostage to one person's opinion.

That's exactly what it is, all of this: One person's (anemic) interest in you.

He is not the only person, and his is not the only opinion.

Granted, the "anyone else" knocking on the door of a new life without your sexually negligent husband might not be another suitor. But it could be new friends, confidants, ideas, opportunities, inspirations, freedoms, possibilities.

And if you were single, maybe some suitors would knock; plenty won't for people they know to be married. The principled ones.

I am sorry your therapist (apparently) hasn't explored such ideas with you. Wow. If you do nothing else, then find a new one. Don't keep entrusting your health to someone who doesn't acknowledge your pain.

You say your husband is your best friend, and no doubt that's founded. However, he also has spent 10 years denying you a direct answer to the question that's torturing you. He may mean his evasion to be kind, but little about it actually is.

Chat online with Carolyn at 11 a.m. each Friday at washingtonpost.com. Write to Tell Me About It in care of The Washington Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071; or email

tellme@washpost.com

Weekend on 06/13/2019

Print Headline: Wife's lack of sex with hubby leaves her feeling worthless

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