I am not attracted to my wife. Now what?
 
 
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1877  
 
 
In Today's Issue
   
Announcements: Emunah from the Inside Out
Links: My wife is unattractive to me
Chizuk: Growing Strong
Q & A: Not Attracted to My Wife
Daily Dose of Dov: Not Happy With My Wife's Appearance
 
 
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Announcements
 
 
Emunah from the Inside Out
 

What Drives Compulsion? 
Addictions & Emuna From the Inside Out
Two-part fascinating workshop/shiur Mon. June 25 and July 2

Links
 

Yaakov Nadel from GYE shares some inspiration 

for those who feel unsatisfied with their lot.

My wife is unattractive to me
Chizuk
 
Growing Strong
 
By GYE

Dear GYE,

I hope you can help me out. I’ve been clean for about 40 days now, and when I’m in Yeshiva, it’s hard but nothing crazy. The problem is, whenever I leave Yeshiva, I get destroyed. I try not to look at girls but whenever a girl is around my mind is only on her. I get this crushing, depressing feeling inside me, like I need her. Are you able to help me out with this?

Thanks,

Crushed and Needy

Dear C&N,

Wow, 40 days is amazing. Keep up the good work!

I know exactly how you feel. Especially in the Bochur years, the fantasy of girls can often feel overwhelming. This is not an easy struggle, but this is the fertile soil that GIBORIM grow from. The word Gever in Lashon Hakodesh means ‘man’, and it also means ‘strength.’ By learning to guard our eyes and turn our desires to Hashem, Who is the source of all good, love, and beauty, we actualize our true potential. But if we give in, we see that we are just chasing shadows; there's really nothing there - it's a bunch of hot air. Do you ever ask yourself, “If the Goyim have it all, why don’t they look happy?” It's all an illusion. Hashem does want us to get married and direct these desires in a healthy way, but at the end of the day, it's all a game. Females are flesh and blood, they are humans with needs and problems just like us. But the lie can feel overpowering if we look. However, if we learn to turn away and not let ourselves look, then we are avoiding the boxing ring with a powerful opponent, and he will never be able to overcome us. It's all about avoiding temptations in the first place. Because once we see it, it's 100 times harder to convince ourselves that it's all hot air.

By the way, have you read our handbook? I think the 30 attitude principles in the back can help you a lot.

Q & A
 
Not Attracted to My Wife
 
Part 1/3
 
By Feuerman, Rabbi Simcha, LCSW-R

Question:

Hi, I'm 26 years old. I am married for a bit over 5 years and from the beginning, have not had much of an attraction for my wife. However, after having 2 kids, my wife gained a lot of weight and now I have absolutely no attraction to her. I spoke to her about this, and she tried to lose weight but it was difficult and now she’s expecting another child. My issue is that I can’t get myself to even touch her. Every time she tries to initiate, I try my best but can’t even get aroused. In the end, she walks out feeling horrible and degraded but it’s not my fault and I can’t control it. I love her and don’t want to hurt her but it’s causing a lot of pain to her and a lot of Shalom Bayit issues since we haven’t had relations in months. I am just not interested in her physically. I have no other outlet and am very careful in what I see or think but this is damaging our relationship and I’m not sure what to do anymore. If Hashem created relations with the intentions of bonding and closer unity, then I’m not sure how that would be possible in this situation, where I was given a wife that I can neither look at nor be with.

-Turned-Off


R’ Simcha Feuerman Responds:

Dear Turned-Off,

Lack of sexual attraction, particularly when due to stresses of pregnancy and childbirth, can be extremely challenging. In many ways, this is a classic problem that some couples experience. Like many marital situations, this requires work on a few fronts at the same time.

Many women in this situation find themselves in a psychological catch 22. They don’t feel love and they don’t feel attractive and so they are depressed and eat more. However, if they work hard to lose weight, they also don’t feel loved because it feels that they’re only being loved for their body.

Similarly, the man is also in a catch 22. He wants to give his wife love and affection but because he partially feels resentful and partially feels truly deprived, it is difficult to give that love and affection. Of course, the less love and affection he gives, the less likely his wife to find the self-esteem and courage to work on losing the weight. A true catch 22 disaster.

The way around this marital disaster is to develop a routine and continuous system of speaking respectfully, honestly, and courageously to each other about the challenge. No emotional blackmail, no temper tantrums, no blaming, and no shaming. Just respect and honesty.

One might ask, what will happen next? The answer is, nobody knows. However, when you believe in each other and instead of isolating you keep staying close, solutions happen.

Couples therapy and sex therapy can be helpful. However, it’s like the doctor that sets the broken bone. The doctor is not going to heal the bone; only the body‘s natural mechanism can do that. The doctor, though, has to set the bones so the bone is in a situation where it can heal. Couples that cannot maintain honesty and respect and connection and instead isolate need therapy in order to be connected so that the healing happens.


Turned-Off Responds:

Dear Rabbi Feuerman,

Thank you for the response. It seems that it’s almost a lost battle: it’s possible that things may change but unless my wife loses weight, I won’t be attracted to her; it’s possible my love will inspire her to change but if it doesn’t, we will both need to learn to just live with it and accept that relations won’t be happening. Therapists, like you said, can give ideas on how to make things better but, all-in-all, without the weight loss, it seems like there’s nothing that can be done internally within me?!

-Turned-Off


Yaakov Responds:

Here are some links to some articles that can help you change your perspective on this situation and use it for growth:

To be continued...
Daily Dose of Dov
 
Not Happy With My Wife's Appearance
 
How do I come to terms with my wife being over-weight?
 
By GYE Corp.

Dov Answers:

I had a difficult wedding - for me it was turmoil, and the doubt I harbored deep inside about marrying that girl was gnawing and torturing me. We didn't really fit because (1) I felt that we were not religious soul-mates (I was far more hashkafically 'deep' than she was), and (2) I had this nagging realization that she was neither a hottie, nor wished to be one... I had two panic attacks during the engagement due to these two seemingly opposite concerns. In me they coexisted just fine! I am no James Bond. But I went through with it because I admired that girl, felt I could probably love her, and saw that she really liked me - and that meant a lot. Sadly, she did not really know me that well, because #1 - I was an addict (but didn't really face that myself yet, at the time), and #2 - she did not realize how shaky I felt inside about devoting the rest of my life to being with her (and being with her in olam haba, as well). It drove me crazy...

Read article
Do you think you may have a porn addiction?
 

Do you have a problem with obsessive and compulsive porn use? Have you seriously tried the tools on GYE and feel that you are not getting better? Maybe it’s time to consider joining a 12-Step program.

Porn Anonymous (PA)
If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email help@pornanonymous.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit pornanonymous.org (Hebrew: p-a.org.il / Yiddish: pa-yid.org).

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
If your compulsive acting-out has progressed beyond the screen (with other people, paid sexual services, etc.) we suggest you explore joining Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). To figure out if SA is for you, call Dov at 917-414-8205, or email Dov at dov@guardyoureyes.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit www.sa.org.

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