advice for couples- can your marriage survive without intimacy?

Sharing a relationship with someone with whom you feel a sense of intimacy is a central component related to where we get our feelings of positive identity and well-being.  A study by Joel Sneed of Queens College concluded that a positive sense of well-being in those in their 50's and older is predicted for those who experience and maintain intimacy early in their lives.  These same people seem to have the ability to maintain intimacy even if they have problem relationships. This is part of the positive outlook they have on life.

When it comes to close personal committed relationships; most of us look for, want, crave and find fulfillment in the closeness/intimacy we share with our spouse/partner.  For purposes of this article, intimacy is defined as a close, warm, friendly and affectionate relationship. For most, it includes a healthy sex life together. 

What if the intimacy is gone? Can your marriage survive without intimacy? 

The truth is that a surprising number of marriages survive without sex for a variety of reasons. The question is, can it survive without that close connection everyone seems to crave?  Truth be told, many marriages do survive with no sense of intimacy.  The question most face is this: Is it possible for them to live that way?  Can you live that way?

In many cases, a marriage does not get drained of intimacy overnight.  It is usually a gradual process happening over many years.  While a couple may experience some fits and starts in attempting to reignite some passion in their relationship, they find themselves just settling back into their routine of maintaining distant.  They may explain it away as a result of stress, a demanding job or too much to get done because of the kids and think it will get better in a few years when things settle down.

If you are currently experiencing a marriage with no real sense of intimacy, it is important to know if you can cope with this for the rest of your life or if you need things to change.  It is difficult for humans to survive without any form of intimacy.  Where do you get a sense of it . . . from the kids, from the grandkids, from a pet or from a close friend?

What are the reasons that the two of you continue to live in a relationship in which you experience no sense of intimacy?  There is usually some form of payoff that keeps you there.  What is it for you?  For some, the payoff makes it worth staying.  Does that work for you?  What if your partner decides that living without intimacy doesn't work for them? What happens to you, will find someone else?

Can you survive if your marriage is mainly just a business? 

For some couples and some individuals that is how marriage is defined.  Each spouse has enough at stake or enough benefit from having a purely business relationship with their spouse that both have determined it is worth enduring the loss of intimacy.

One of the issues that must be faced is how do YOU define survive.  Are you in a relationship that has no intimacy, and you find your life very unhappy, unbearable and are filled with regret or resentment because it turned out this way?  If that is the case for you, can you REALLY continue living like that?  In some cases you may believe that you have no choice because of financial interdependence, the need to save face or the sense of responsibility to family.  To survive emotionally, however; you need to take some steps to aid in your survival.

You have some choices you could make regarding your marriage:

  1. Do nothing. Leave things alone, do the best you can to hang in there as long as you can.  Maybe it will work out for you and maybe not . . .
  2. Do something. Work on a strategy to try to change things and see if there can be acceptable improvement.
  3. Do something more radical. If you have tried to fix it in the past and things are too unbearable for you and your spouse is getting their needs met elsewhere, perhaps it is time to end the marriage.

Have you given up on things ever improving in your intimacy deprived marriage?  Does it just seem too hard?  Have failed attempts at making things better brought you to a place of hopelessness?  Is it too discouraging to even think of putting effort into your relationship?  If that is the case for you, it really is a terrible place to be.

What efforts have you made through the years to try to get over the hurdles and roadblocks which have built up between the two of you? Have you ever sought outside intervention through friends, family members or a trained professional? Receiving little or no outside help, must have been terribly hard for both of you if you haven’t been able to make that happen.

Before you resign yourself to a life without intimacy OR call it quits, think about getting help to see if it can change. 

If it is likely to end, consider what you have to lose by spending some time, energy and money to determine if positive change is possible.  Spend some time thinking it through and determine a strategy of talking it over with your spouse.  Would the two of you be able to make a commitment to spending six months working on the marriage by seeking out the best help available to you?

If you are tired of existing in a relationship that has no real intimacy and want to work at changing things, we are here to help you. 

If you're ready, take the next step now and call 331-308-0113 for a free 15-20 minute phone/Skype consultation. We will tell you about how our process works and you will come away from that call with the information you need to make a decision about how we can best work together.

Contact Information

Phone: 331-308-0113
email: contact@davidanddebbiemcfadden.com

Address: 1962 Golf View Dr. Bartlett, Illinois 60103

Couples Counselor & Relationship Coaches Drs. David and Debbie McFadden