Relationship Run Its Course

Ask Emma: My husband is in the friendzone. Is it possible that our marriage has just run its course?

Hi Emma.

Can you please use a fake name for this? I’ll go by Jessica if that is just the same to you. I’ve been married for 9 years and with my husband for 12 and we have a great relationship. Two wonderful kids and we co-parent incredibly well together. My dad owns a business and my husband and I both work for the family business in different capacities. Most of our conversation at home revolves around family, work or his dad’s latest hair brained idea.

For the last five or six years I really haven’t enjoyed sex with him but we have vanilla sex twice a week because that is what married people do. Is it routine? Yes. He seems just fine with the same positions and the same repetitive sex. I think he can sense a growing physical and emotional distance and my sex drive literally withering away in front of my eyes. When we have sex it is about love and our bond but it does absolutely nothing for fulfilling my sexual needs and tapping into my sexual desire. I don’t even know when we shifted from lovers to friends but it happened at some point.

He brought up our lack of sex and approached me about chastity cages and showed your website to me. I was confused and shocked and now I think I am beginning to understand. He told me that he has a cage and wants to try it with me to make things kinky. It seems weird for him because he is so vanilla but I wonder if his porn viewing led him to your site and his new fetish.

I love him. I care about him but I find myself fantasizing about other men and I even followed a very handsome man around the grocery store yesterday almost working the nerve up to say something to him. I don’t know what I would have said and if he responded I probably would have dropped my basket and ran out of the store. In spite of being my best friend, I don’t feel the same physical connection toward my husband and the emotional connection is much different. He doesn’t make my heart flutter like he did at the beginning. While I desperately want to feel that again, part of me is contented since he does meet my emotional needs. I wonder if having him carry my heart while another carries the physical needs.

Jessica

Hi Jessica!

Thanks for your email. I know this must be hard for you, I feel like I can hear the trepidation in your email. As you pointed out, it sounds like you’ve put your husband into the friend zone and that can be tough waters to navigate especially for a married couple.

What does it mean to be in the friend zone?

The friend zone is a place where you get along with someone but there is no spark. Think about a sibling or parent whom you connect with emotionally but taking the jump to physical isn’t at all enticing. There is no spark and no flutter as you noted. This guy is part of your support network but there is no arousal, no butterflies and no yearning for sexual contact or intimate touch. You may ask for a massage or backrub but it is always just that.

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How did my husband get in the friend zone?

Are your displays of love and affection robotic? Do you say “I love you” out of habit? When he says he loves you, do you instinctively say that you love him back? Do you feel like you are taken for granted? Do you feel like you take him for granted or perhaps that he owes you something for sticking around and being his wife? Do you still flirt with each other? Perhaps you overshare and don’t make an effort to be presentable for each other anymore. Do you cough, pass gas, blow your nose or even laugh about these things together without even the slightest attempt to hide them? The biggest one, do you use the restroom with the door open?

My Husband Is Not a Good Lover

There, you said it. Could it be that your husband is truly not a good lover or do you simply thrive on the newness. Would you have married him initially if he wasn’t a good lover? Does sex with the same partner get boring over time? Do women get bored with the same man over time? The fact is you can’t generalize the sexual boredom and preferences of all genders. Every one of us has predisposition to sexual boredom and both genders experience it but women are more predisposed to it.

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Marta Meana of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas spelled it out by saying. “Long-term relationships are tough on desire, and particularly on female desire.” To love is to have but desire is to want and even need something that you don’t have. This is why desire fades in a long term relationship; because you already have it. Esther Perel says in her book Mating in Captivity “the qualities of a relationship that grow love – mutuality, protection, safety, predictability, protection, responsibility for the other – are the very things that will smother desire.” and she is correct. These things all enhance love and reduce the uncertainty and novelty that drive desire.

Most people in sexual partnerships end up facing the conundrum biologists call “habituation to a stimulus” over time, a growing body of research suggests that heterosexual women, in the aggregate, are likely to face this problem earlier in the relationship than men. And that disparity tends not to even out over time. In general, men can manage wanting what they already have, while women struggle with it. Two oft-cited German longitudinal studies, published in 2002 and 2006, show median female desire dropping dramatically over 90 months with some women dropping after only 44 months. Women seek out novelty not because they don’t love their partner, to a great part they do absolutely love their partners but they get habituated to a stimulus and are unable to become aroused for sex much like men with erectile dysfunction are unable to rise to the occasion.

Women are programmed to want monogamy and frankly with sexual risks including pregnancy, it is a good arrangement. Find a man who you can safely couple with and our culture endorses. Just because monogamy is the safe option doesn’t mean that it will allow desire to flourish in a long term monogamous partnership. Psychiatrist & sexual-health practitioner Elisabeth Gordon says “The complaint has historically been attributed to a lower baseline libido for women, but that explanation conveniently ignores that women regularly start relationships equally as excited for sex.” Women in long-term, committed heterosexual partnerships might think they are broken or no longer desire sex but more likely, they’ve grown weary of the same sex with the same person over and over.

So while both men and women can feel sexual boredom due to different causes, it isn’t always that either partner is a bad lover. With time and sexual experimentation and perhaps professional health, it is not only possible but highly possible to bring the excitement sex back.

How Do We Fix It?

Maybe you’ve done a few of the things in the last section and just assumed that it was ok. It isn’t. Marriage is about working hard to be presentable and attractive for your spouse. Marriage is about keeping the spark alive by constantly keeping your own flame lit. Marriage is about making time for your spouse and flirting with him. Does this mean sexual innuendo despite not feeling the sexual spark? Yes! This absolutely means innuendo, and most importantly play. A playful marriage is a healthy marriage and play between a compatible couple always brings a spark of emotional closeness. The absence of play means the absence of passion and the absence of passion; well, I think you can figure that out.

Our society dictates that a man and a woman get married, move in together, reduce or remove external connections and develop a healthy level of codependence. This is a wonderful recipe to become sexually bored with each other. Do the opposite and spend time apart. Yeah you heard me, break the codependent cycle and you bring the intimacy back. Spend time doing the things you enjoy with other people regardless of gender. It won’t take long before you feel friendship turn into a spark of passion with your partner.

Spend time with people that aren’t your spouse. This doesn’t have to be dates but it could be. This doesn’t need to be intimate relationships but it could be. Kev spends more time with his friends because his hobbies and interaction with his friends is what he craves and male needs are mostly fraternal. We have a halfway open marriage and I spend time dating and having new experiences with partners because that’s what I crave. I’m not broken but my in-built nature contradicts society expectations and what I’ve been told my entire life.

Sexual Control

Establishing a sense of sexual control in the relationship will help implant sexuality as a core tenet in your marriage. Knowing that his sexual satisfaction is directly tied to the reward response system in your partnership is a wonderful way to bring sexuality back into the light rather than tucked away in the shadows of the friend zone. Sexual control can mean many things to many people; for some it might be a relationship with female led tendencies. For other couples it might mean male chastity and domestic discipline. For others on the more extreme side, it might mean an external boyfriend or bull to satisfy sexual needs while the husband satisfies the emotional aspects. Regardless of the path you choose, it is important that both of your needs are met even if that means he is experiencing your sexuality secondhand.

He has presented you with a chastity cage and presumably accepts your lack of desire toward him as an outward sign of the feelings that you communicated above. He accepts that he is not able to satisfy your needs and his cage shows that he is open to some less mainstream ideas to get things back on track. It is also very likely that you are losing much of your sexual control to pornography as you stated you think some of these ideas have come from his porn viewing habits. Sexual control can be quite healthy but is very different than using sex as currency in the marriage. It is important that sex not be offered on a transactional or tit for tat type basis, if you do this than I will do that. That will grow old for both of you very quick and will lead to resentment. The goal is for both of you to understand his sex drive and learn to use it to control his moods and his actions. The male sex drive is very interesting in that it can be used to make the most difficult tasks menial with the right motivation. It also can make him do the most unsettling tasks with little convincing if he is in a high state of arousal.

Sexual Value

What you are missing in your relationship isn’t an emotional bond, in fact it sounds like your emotional bond is stronger than ever. This is something many couples would gladly give an arm or a leg for. What you need is to value each other sexually or more specifically for you to find him valuable as a sexual partner. You’ve all but lost the lustful feelings that you once had for him and that is completely normal especially for the females of this human race. You probably find him physically attractive and from the sound of things, you simply cannot put your finger on the missing piece; sexual value. To value him sexually, I recommend counseling and/or taking a page out of the female dominance handbook. Not only will a dominant lifestyle add novel experiences to your relationship but it will flip a psychological switch that makes him your sexual property and it will make the whole thing so much more… magical. It is important that you make it about him and not about you. In fact, all of the things you do should be rooted in “what will it do for us” rather than pursuing selfish needs or wants.

Having sexual partners outside of our relationship is inherently selfish, right? Not necessary! It is all about framing that in a way that is about shared sexuality. Include him in your fantasies and make him an integral part of your sexuality. After you come home from a date, give time and energy to your husband’s sexuality. Share the graphic details of your date with him and if you have a cuckold dynamic, consider making the date completely about his inadequacy. I wouldn’t need to go to other men’s homes to fuck them if you were good enough, this is your fault. Instead of going to your boyfriend’s house, stay home and request that your husband retire to the spare bedroom. Sexuality is a fascinating beast but it won’t be long before you feel a certain level of comfort playing with many facets of your sexuality that might seem extreme. Remember that this is all rooted in fantasy and aftercare is not only important but key to a fantasy dynamic like this. Sexuality is about play, and having a playful life together with your partner.

Is it Over?

It is very likely that your relationship has come to a point that needs some feeding and attention before it can flourish again. Just because things change doesn’t mean they are bad or broken, it just means that you need to adjust your approach. When things change we can’t come at them the same way and expect them to behave the same. Try new things and above all else communicate with him and be very vulnerable and real with him. Bring play back into your relationship in a very sexual way so you can both experience sexuality in a positive light again. It sounds like the relationship you have together is a relationship worth every ounce of effort. A match like this doesn’t come around but a few times in a lifetime so Kev and I wish you and your wonderful, loving husband lots of love and our kindest wishes and support!

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tincup

Hey Emma! This may be the best piece of your writing that I have ever read… and I have read a lot. You have made and supported your arguments so well, that even if the reader still dissagrees because of a base belief, there would be little left to dispute.

My partner and I flit in and out of the friend zone quite a bit, and I struggle deeply with the unsatisfying consequences as you know. I am sure that she does also. For now neither one of us feels secure enough to make a major move, so we will continue to ride the waves and ups & downs. Things have gotten much better for us the past couple years, so there is much hope for an even more satisfying situatuon for both of us.

Subsean007

Emma,
Great response and explanation about the changes we go through during long term relationships!
In reading her last sentence It almost sounds, to me, that she was looking for approval to step into the world of cuckolding. She questions having her husband carry her heart while another carry her physical needs.
I also hope she realizes how vulnerable and scary it must have been for her husband to reveal his desire to be locked in chastity and share your website with her. It shows he realizes there’s a disconnect and he wants to try something to make things better. He is offering control of his most prized possession. That is not something to be taken lightly and to be categorized as a “fetish” I hope “Jessica” has the courage and the desire to sit down with her husband and have a vulnerable discussion about the future of their relationship. I went through the exact same thing with my ex wife. We were married for 20 years and the last 5 of them we had become roommates. I approached her about trying chastity and an FLR to bring spark back into our bedroom but I was dismissed as having a “sick fetish” and that I was “broken” and needed therapy. Needless to say, our marriage dissolved. I Hope Jessica and her husband can communicate clearly and openly to take their relationship to the next level.

Ron

Part of the problem is that they spend too much time around each other, as a result of being employed at the same place. The old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder and familiarity breeds contempt” could be true in their case.
The good news is that their situation can be fixed, as the love in their marriage is sound. He obviously has no problem with his desire for her, but she does for him. This isn’t something he alone can fix, he can cooperate with her attempts to fix the sexual chemistry between them, but she really has to figure this out for herself.
It is normal to see a decline in some desire after a period of time in relationships, as the novelty of newness wears off. Little annoyances, mistakes, insults and unresolved issues can collectively take their toll on a relationship. Then there are the challenges of raising two children.
Marital partners can tend to get lazy too, in their efforts with each other, knowing their partner is theirs, and not going anywhere.
Male chastity could possibly make a difference, if she sincerely gave it a chance, and explored it with him. It may open the door to trying other sexual ideas.
One thing for sure, is given their current situation, taking an extra marital lover will not help their marriage. This is something they both have to want, for it to work. They have to fix what they have, before even considering it.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ron
subhubphx

One thing for sure, is given their current situation, taking an extra marital lover will not help their marriage. This is something they both have to want, for it to work. They have to fix what they have, before even considering it.”

Wise words from a wise man. It won’t fix it. It will end it.

Abracadra

I think there are 2 things going on that are important to separate.

  1. Decline in Female Libido in Monogamous Relationships
  2. A Desire for Some Men to Be Submissive
  1. Decline in Female Libido
  2. The research shows the female libido decline in monogamous relationships much faster than the male libido. There are lots of explanations for this. But perhaps women evolved to have multiple partners. Adventurous couples solve this by introducing variety toys, porn, roleplay, going to sex parties/ clubs, introducing others into their sex life. There’s a lot of options.
  3. Our culture will allow toys, perhaps porn, but frowns upon including others. Most people report adding variety recharges the female libido.
  4. A Desire for Some Men to be Submissive – Power Dynamics
  5. Some men just want to be submissive. Power dynamics are frowned upon in our culture. We should be equal, yet some men strive to being dominated. Now that’s not all men, but some men do.

The beautiful thing is that you’re in charge of your relationship. You can determine what kind of variety you want to include and whether or not you want to experiment with power dynamics.

Mr Pickle

Embrace it. Life will only get better for both of you.

It would have taken a lot of courage for your husband to approach you with this and he will have been thinking about it for quite a while.

I’ve been there and the response was not good. But I persevered and eventually male chastity became a thing for us.

It was something I wanted. I truly belived it would ramp things up and bring the spark back.

The first year was turbulent, but eventually my wife C took the reigns and made us amazing again.

You have an advantage I think, you can choose to take control now and steer things in whichever direction will save you, improve you and make you both incredibly happy.
There are so many enjoyable things in life. Sex is one of them, it was never suposed to be a kept in a box, you just have to unlock it. Or not. You get to decide.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I hope the reverse is true, because I have a thousand words for you in hope it gives the bigger picture.

The following is one of thousands of entries in my journey on a rather vanilla chastity forum. It is my two year and four year entry.

Please read and understand that we (C and I) were in a very difficult and slow relationship and although we loved each other devorce was looming. I simply couldn’t let that happen, I couldn’t lose the most amazing thing in my life and zi was willing to do anything.
Maybe the offer of a cage, the control was a way to demonstrate this?
All I know for sure is.. Life is now amazing. For all of us.

Log:

Often the question arises “why?” are we all insane?
I thought this might clarify things or put me straight into the asylum.
Either way. I Hope it makes sense to someone.

It’s two years now since we started this journey.. Well, I say ‘We’.. C Definitely wasn’t on board

I’ll start again.

It has been two years since ‘I’ started this journey. What a ride so far.
The first year was difficult, lots of trial, error and a great deal of resistance from C, but it did bring about many changes, and it did open the door to new Kinks and a more exciting life.

For me it was always exciting, but try as I might, I couldn’t get away from it being about me at the end of the day and C found it all too much.

The second year. C did get on board. I eventually had the courage and sense to let C take the reigns. It was when C took over. That is when the real changes started to happen. The real improvements, Permanent changes, life improvements that have changed us both.

The second year became more about ‘us’ and certainly a lot more about C.
I think statistically, the fist year I was locked 50% of the time, much of which was me locking me and C putting up with it.
This last year over 90% with C being the one to insist.

On the sex side. I would say at least a 400% frequency increase and ironically, it is no longer about the sex anyway. The preasure has gone, and the gates have opened.

Relationship wise, the increase in how we get on, bond, play and find each other of interest. The need to be together. Is immeasurable.

The cage hasn’t done this, it was a catalyst in a way.
We did this.
C did this.
The cage hasn’t altered us or changed us, it has helped us discover who we are and realise that we like each other. A lot!

The real changes came about as a result of being able to communicate, being able to listen and get in tune with each other.
The cage has enabled C to say No. To help herself when it suits her, without preasure, guilt or resentment.

My ed has gone. I realise It was never really there, it was all in my head, caused more by my needs and expectations and failures and doubts.

The cage.. Helps. It gives us something to point at or blame or use, that in a way side steps the awkwardness of not being in the mood or wanting to ask for something unusual.
No is replaced with “I’m keeping you locked” which has turned a No into a sexual thing, a happy thing.

I actually told C I have fantasies of being butt fucked by her yesterday. And she wasn’t shocked or appalled, she just made a mental note rather than the expected ‘shut it down’ .

Who, in a normal relationship can have this type of conversation?
Anyone. The hard bit is having a normal relationship.

Two years ago.. I genuinely found it difficult to ask C if we might be able to have sex. And then I would belive any ‘ok’ from C was given begrudgingly and I would lose my erections. A complete failure.

Now.. If my erections did fail. And I can’t remember when it last did, I’d laugh about it and C would lock it up and find another use for me. We don’t need ‘it’ anyway to have great sex.

We don’t even have to have sex to have great sex!
Some of the best moments are in the here and now. A word, a look, a promise of being kept locked, of being denied..

Being told C won’t be using my dick any time soon is incredibly erotic. Two years ago it would have destroyed me as a man.

So. Two years on. Cock is in a cage and I’m used as a kind of sex toy. I have less orgasms than I ever have. I do housework, look after the kids, spend less time with “the boys” drink less beer and I don’t argue with my wife.
I’m constantly reminded that I’m under the thumb or held by the balls. I serve, I worship. I’m proud and I’m loved.

I feel more A man now than I have felt my entire life.

Log

It’s my four year chastiversary.. Or our three year depending on how you look at it.
It dawned on me recently that although it feels like little has changed in the last year or two, this just isn’t the case.
Things are moving along at C’s pace so at the right pace. What will happen I have no idea, but I look forward to it. We are in a better place now as a family and a couple, as friends and as Man and wife.
I don’t feel dominated or abused or any of the ‘textbook’ things one might think I should feel. I do feel like a devoted loving and very much loved husband. I feel blessed, lucky, high on life.
When I first looked into this stuff and found some actual real people living it.. (thanks Tom and Thumper btw (TnT).
Well I wasn’t looking for what they had kink or journey_wise. What they had to me was a solid relationship. One that was obviously growing. They were getting closer, and although this is how all couples should be it isn’t usually the case.
My journey is totally different and I don’t have any goals in mind these days. I push, I’m cheeky and it either pays off or its painful. My character hasn’t changed, I am if anything more ‘Me’ than I have ever been, and the great thing is. That’s the guy C fell in love with..

Today I recieved a text from C out of the blue
“I love you, I’d be completely lost without you. Thank you for loving me too. See you later 😘❤️💋💕🗝️🔒💋💕❤️xxxx

Wow! nuf said.

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