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'My wife friendzoned me and wants platonic 'companionship.' How do I respond?' MAJOR UPDATE

'My wife friendzoned me and wants platonic 'companionship.' How do I respond?' MAJOR UPDATE

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Nothing will throw you off quite like a complete relationship 180.

"My wife friend-zoned me and wants a platonic “companionship.'"

My wife (35f) and I (35m) have been married for 15 years and we've been together for 20 years. We have two kids (12,14) we absolutely adore and work tirelessly to provide the best possible life for them. For the past 3 years, things have been somewhat bumpy.

I understand that our kids are at an age where they require a ton of our attention and resources with school, band, club sports, and other extra-curriculars and I'm aware of the physical and emotional toll that can have on marriages. However, for these past 3 years, my wife and I have had very little intimacy and very little s#x and we've been trying very hard to work on that aspect of our relationship.

This past year has been the most difficult and by far the darkest year in our marriage. We didn’t talk very much, we essentially became roommates coparenting our kids under the same roof. It was very depressing and very demoralizing. It was to the point where we began contemplating divorce and it became very dark and gloomy in the household because of that.

We began seeking help with both individualized therapy and couples therapy and it seems to have helped some. Little by little we started to get along and started to have deeper conversations about what our marriage looks like and what we would love for it to look like. This is where it gets tough. As time passed, my wife started to tell me she no longer was "in love with me" and she only saw me as a "best friend."

That she only loved me in a very platonic way, and this was one of the main reasons she didn’t have any desire for intimacy and let alone s#x. This was very shocking to me and quite frankly, I was devastated. I because angry and depressed and I couldn't fathom the thought that I was no longer wanted or desired by the person I felt completely in love with.

Things began to deteriorate again and not long after, we were back to square one. I sat down with her one afternoon and had a heart to heart and began to ask questions about where the root of this problem lies, and her answer was "I don't know" and that "I have built up resentment towards you but I don't know where it stems from."

As you can imagine, this provides very little to no insight into how to approach this. I'm puzzled, I'm frustrated and I do not know what to do at this point. Currently, we've arrived at a place where she says that she has no sex drive and no desire for intimacy or connection. She says that all she wants is simply "companionship" which basically means our coparenting roommate dynamic.

I asked her what I could possibly do or what is it about me that is so unattractive or undesirable and she her response is always "I don't know." She stated that she does "love" me but its not the same. That she has been feeling disconnected for years and that our marriage just takes up too much work.

Her focus is only the children for now and that my coparenting contributions are "meaningful" to her in our home. I'm at a loss and I'm mainly venting about my frustration. It's tough to realize that the person you love has no feelings for you. I feel like at this point I'm only here to contribute financially and as a parent.

I feel like what she means with "companionship" is that she's comfortable with the convenience of having a good father for our kids and my financial contribution to the household. In regard to intimacy and/or s#x, she basically told me that its not something she’s interested in or wants at this time.

She mentioned that the only way to get to a point for any of that is to be intoxicated which o believe is incredibly awful and very wrong. I told her I do not think forcing herself to have s#x or be intimate by drinking or smoking is good and I declined to be a part of that which to my surprise, it upset her and made her more distant.

We're both extremely honest and transparent. We've never cheated on each other and we are always free to look through each others phones, emails, socials, etc. and we hardly ever do. I asked her if there was someone else and she declined. Honestly, I believe her. We then peacefully went through each other’s things and as expected, it was clean.

We've always been very forward, even with the hard topics so I don't smell nor feel any foul play or infidelity. Am I wrong for declining to only be intimate or have s#x when she’s intoxicated? (I'm firm on my stance of not partaking in this "only when I'm h*gh or dr*nk" s#x because it doesn’t sit well with me.) I do not know how to help our situation and I'm starting to become a bit anxious and desperate.

We're both fairly young and healthy individuals and good looking. We both have good standing careers and are good parents. I'm just not sure how our lives could have driven us to this point. I'd love some outside perspective on this matter and some insight on how to address something like this. It feels so awful to be unwanted and undesired by my own spouse. I hate it.

TL;DR: My wife of 15+ years is no longer in love with me and doesn’t know way and now says she can only have s#x while intoxicated or I need to settle for a platonic s#xless marriage and she doesn’t know why that is but it is what it is and I'm in need of insight or advice.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

BigIronBruce wrote:

"She says that all she wants is simply "companionship" which basically means our coparenting roommate dynamic."

That's only a marriage if you both agree it is.

You're hoping she's going to wake up one day and feel different but she's basically said that's not going to happen and doesn't want to figure out why she feels that way. It seems like you tried several different ways to get to the bottom of it and she's either deflected or is being honest that she's not in love with you.

"Am I wrong for declining to only be intimate or have s#x when she’s intoxicated?"

I wouldn't do this, either, if that makes you feel better. Will she be your best friend if you live elsewhere and have a relationship with somebody in love you. Probably not. Which makes the whole "best friend" speech feel like self-deception on her part.

I won't lie, if it were me, I'd get a divorce. She doesn't seem willing to do the work to fix the marriage and you can't fix it alone. She might promise to fix it or beg you not to but you need to follow your gut as to whether she actually can or will fix it. She's serious that she wants you to stick around but not necessarily as her husband.

OP responded:

A very hard truth to accept here. Thank you 😔

warthog__ wrote:

From your comment history it looks like you are Swingers? If so, I would think that would be relevant information to consider.

failedopportunities wrote:

Holy hell…I was about to comment too. Glad I scrolled comments. OP, for f#$ks sake you need to include that in your post. It’s quite relevant information as to why your wife doesn’t want anything more than a platonic relationship with you.

OP responded:

We did some swinging in the past. That was fun for some time. We mutually decided to stop doing it and we have established it’s not the case. When we were swinging however, our marriage seemed to be in a good place.

This IS something we did disclose with our couple therapist and made sure to include it to make sure we’re not neglecting an obvious potential issue. I will say, I did ask my wife if what she experienced during swinging is something that is affecting her view on our relationship and she said it wasn’t.

Our swinging experience was always together and it was very s#x driven. Nothing really emotional or “poly”. Truth is, I have to believe her at her word. I have no reason to distrust her. To date, she’s always been very forward and never afraid of dealing things head on. No matter how painful.

Unfair_Finger5531 wrote:

I guess what I’m not understanding is why you are baffled by her resentment and the fact that she said the marriage “takes too much work.” If she has resentment towards you, unless she’s insane, there must be a reason. Why are you not addressing what has transpired between you two that has led her to feel resentment? You can’t possibly be clueless about why she would say this.

OP responded:

Resentment reasons are somewhat vague. We went to couples therapy for this to try and look for the deeply rooted resentment and all that was said was “I don’t know why I resent you.” Even the therapist was a bit confused about it. I even made sure our couples therapist was a woman because I felt it would help with having an unbiased perspective.

I even offered potential reasons like me working too much, me traveling for work too often, maybe not giving her enough attention even. She simply said it wasn’t any of those things and had no further explanation.

Interesting-Tip-4850 wrote:

If you love her, this arrangement she proposes will burn you to the ground with time. If she doesn't want to fix it or find it possible to love you as her man its time to work on plan B to fix your life without her. It will be on her my friend.

In the mean time study and implement 180 to protect your sanity. Honestly such stuff always makes me wonder how egocentric and unaware people can be to even imagine that this is a viable option. "I am not in love with you and its fine, here is the wallet, there are the chores" WTF?!

Sharp_Platform8958 wrote:

If you were to get divorced an just live as roommates would that work for either of you? Might be a question to ask next time you talk.

OP responded:

Something to think about for sure. Me personally, if we’re divorced, it has to be a clean cut. I love my wife very much and being around her platonically after a divorce probably wouldn’t fair well IMO.

A week later, OP shared an update.

I wanted to give you guys an update of how the therapy session with my wife went this week. Not sure if this is helpful or not but I took many of the responses/comments/suggestions from my initial post and put together some things I wanted to discuss with our couples therapist to help us navigate some of the core issues that may be affecting this situation.

One of the main things that is the "buzz word" of this has been the term "resentment" and it has been really eating me up inside knowing my wife keeps telling me she doesn't know why she's resentful or doesn't know why this is affecting her emotionally/mentally.

I brought this up with our therapist once again and resurfaced the conversation about being married for so long (15yrs) and being together since we ere 14yrs old. Our long history of growing up and how having children when she was 19yrs old (me 20) significantly changed the trajectory of our lives.

We experience sever poverty and many hardships in the process and we essentially had zero social life for the past 10 years because we were so busy raising babies (2 kids now ages 12 &14). She followed up with tons of questions directly mostly at my wife about her feelings towards this and 90% of the responses were very "our kids" focused.

It definitely felt like she was afraid of saying "yes it sucked" because she would feel guilt or shame because it would imply she regrets the kids. I mentioned this in the session and the therapist encouraged her to look at this outside of the lens of being a mother and to try to view it a bit more selfishly and individually and it was very eye opening.

My wife mentioned that she was very frustrated with the fact that we did miss out on many things in life. She also was very clear in saying "I do not think I missed out on other partners or dating or partying but I certainly lost all my friends." This was huge because one of the big pieces that has caused a strain in our lives is how silo'd and isolated we've been (again busy raising kids).

I followed up by reminding her that it's important to have good friends and to make time for herself and her friendships.

For the past 3+ years, we've had multiple conversations about friends and how it is important to have them in life.

Specially when you have similar peers that can help in many areas of life that perhaps we have no experience navigating and even simply for enjoyment. It has always been something my wife avoids, even though she's always been someone who needs that external stimuli. The main reason for her not investing in friends or even herself has always been "the kids."

Like I mentioned earlier in this post, 90% of the answers have to relate to "the kids" to some degree.

At this point in our session I started to feel like there was a common denominator (the kids) in most of the frustrations and problems she was experiencing.

So I simply asked her "Do you think you may be upset at me because I'm responsible for these kids in the sense that I got you pregnant so young?" I wasn't ready but she said that she was upset at me for that. She also followed up with the fact that she knows that's unreasonable because it "takes 2 to tango."

I did feel like it was progress because it kind of gave us something to work on and help alleviate some of these "burdens" so we agreed to invest more time in nurturing good friendships both together and individually. Towards the end of the session, we began to discuss what actionable items we would take from this session.

At this point, it was still all very ambiguous and blurry as to what the outcomes were. I was very direct and very forward in asking my wife what her plan is moving forward. (NOTE: I had decided prior to the session that should my wife say the same thing about being a coparenting roommate that I would take the 180 approach and essentially do me).

She started basically saying the same thing, that she doesn't have any desire to be intimate or s#xual with me as of now and that she loves me immensely and she feels bad for not being there for me (as mentioned in my first post).

I also brought up the brief swinging that happened, to which for the 50th time said it wasn't a problem. I agree with her on this. This was something that was a "mechanical" approach for a solution to a problem that was very much in existent when we tried this.

We (both) really have no issue to this. We know it happened, we tried it and mutually stopped and turned the page.I also brought up other life events that may cause resentment and really we ended up not getting anywhere else as far as the root for resentment which was discouraging.

I then basically expressed to my wife that I will not be ok with that arrangement. I told her that I've really done everything I can and that this issue really has reached a point where it has nothing to do with me or require me to do anything that I'm currently not doing.

I was very direct and saying that I will not be accepting this dynamic and that I need to be with someone who is actively involved in our marriage, works towards resolutions and is very much interested in maintaining an active intimacy and sexual relationship.

I expressed how I am not going to be a "convenience" and that there was more to life than being roommates and coparents. I made sure she knows I love her dearly and that I do want this to work for the better. I also told her that I'm fully committed to this marriage so long as she is as well and that is she wasn't, its ok, however I will not be a part of something where these efforts are not reciprocated.

I told her I have no plans of leaving, and I do not want a divorce, however, I made it clear that if this dynamic continues that divorce will be the only outcome. Of course tears were involved and it was a very bleak and sad ending to the session. Still nothing was said and I walked out very discouraged and very determined to start working on the 180 as soon as we left the room.

It's painful and very difficult because much of the 180 requires you to be very short and cold and transactional. The saddest part is realizing, this dynamic already is very cold and transactional. Here is where it gets VERY interesting. I started working on implementing many of the 180 recommendations that same day.

I mentioned to my wife that, "hey, things are going to be a bit different moving forward. I'm going to honor her roommate/coparent dynamic without reproach and that it should be no mistake that I am not happy here and I am never going to be ok with it but I am done working on it if she wasn't going to work on it."

She agreed and went to bed. I started to build distance and started to basically focus on myself. Very short and transactional. She asked for help on some of her personal things to which I declined and it really shocked her. She was upset saying I was being petulant. I explained to her that, she is now fully in charge of her own life and her own issues.

We didn't talk all day and we only spoke when necessary. Few days I keep this going and she's very visibly upset and stressed. I typically react to that with gestures of help or nurturing but I didn't this time. That night she was crying telling me she's stressed and she things something is wrong with me because I'm "indifferent."

I simply listened, then I told her that this is the dynamic she proposed and that I'm simply (much like her) taking care of myself and focusing on myself. I'm not going to lie, it has been VERY hard to be cold and distant because as I mentioned before, I love her and I wish I could hold her and love on her.

However, I know this is somewhat manipulative in a way just to get her way and still keep me in the friendzone. So I've been staying the course.

We're now going on a week of this 180 and let just say, there has been MANY changes on her side.

I think she is starting to realize there is more to me than just "friends and coparenting." I sent her a text a few days ago essentially itemizing bills and separating the financial responsibilities 50/50 and SHE LOST HER SHIT. She basically told me it was "out of left field" to which I responded "hey, friends go in 50/50 and as your friend I expect nothing less."

This was very eye opening because it gave me a glimpse of I'm really taken for granted and how her level of comfort and convenience at my expense is really overlooked. I pushed through anyways and basically told her that this is the new dynamic she asked for and that its still a "bargain" because she would have to be 100% if she was on her own.

I'll wrap up with this. While the 180 has been working in many different areas, I am still very much sad about the overall situation. There have been MANY eye opening statements being said and realization that have not been pleasant to encounter. It has also sparked new energy and new efforts on her side as well.

She's definitely seeking to talk to me more often and while its hard to turn down, I hope if things improve, this continues to happen. I've also noticed that she's making more time for herself aside from being a mom which is HUGE because she pretty much neglected herself for years.

I'm very pleased seeing her be more herself. My hope is that as we work on ourselves, the marriage improves. There really is no telling at this point where this will go. We are very much cordial and amicable even to this day and that's a very good sign.

Boundaries are set and expectations are very clear and I feel that no matter the outcome, I will be at peace with everything that has been done. We're still going to continue the couples therapist until we either rekindle our marriage or end up in divorce. I feel like having this non-biased third party really helps as a witness and as a guide through this.

No matter what I will always love my wife, however, I will not participate in a sexless, intimacy less marriage because we both deserve better.

Thank you all for all the kind words and recommendations and feedback. This will be my last post on this topic and I wish you all the best.

TL;DR: My wife friend-zoned me wants to just coparent at my expense but I started the 180 method to try and find a solution because she doesn't want to work on us which seems to be working on getting her out of her rut and helping me discover more about how she feels. Also, therapy is paramount and highly recommend to all couples.

The comments kept coming in.

CatsGambit wrote:

So, I'm going to assume that your wife has a lucrative job and you are both going 50/50 on childcare, as you both work and share children. Because otherwise, this approach is just plain financially abusive (and if you're planning on saying "I won't pay the bills unless you have sex with me", sexually abusive as well).

Assuming that is the case and you aren't a total POS, I'm actually interested in how this works out for you. I feel like I'm in an unstated, similar situation- we both work and have blended finances, but we don't go to bed together or eat together, have barely any intimacy (a kiss or two, hugs every couple days), and spend....maybe 8 hours a week together, just the three of us (him, me, and the toddler).

Even less just the two of us- maybe 3 hours a week? Otherwise, he is on his game, or out playing sports, watching youtube, or whatever else he does. It barely feels like a friends situation, let alone a marriage. I'm curious how she handles it, as the spouse that presumably was pulling away first- I hope you keep us updated.

OP responded:

Yes we both have degrees, good careers and while I make significantly more money, her salary is very proficient and above average. The 50/50 was not to cripple nor hurt her financially (that is cruel) but mostly to send a message on what a “roommate” dynamic looks like in the real world. I really dislike how people immediately jump to conclusions about the finances as a way of manipulating her.

It’s not the case at all. Plenty of money left over after bills. However 50/50 means she has less “whatever” money AND the understanding that roommates share everything equally. Prior to this 180 approach, we did everything together and with our kids. We always saw ourselves as a “unit” that do things together. Both alone and with the kids too.

That’s changed now where I’m choosing to focus on more independent type of pastimes and focus. That is what has sparked her reaction and realization of “there’s more” than just roommates here.

TheLoneJackal wrote:

How does one dump half of the household expenses on the other person if they share a bank account? Or are your finances kept separately? Just curious how this would work if applied to my life.

OP responded:

Excellent question. We shared everything. The proposed 50/50 was suggesting we place the necessary amount to pay bills in the same account and any leftover money can be deposited to a new account. I think this is why she was very upset. She felt a huge loss of control knowing she won’t be able to monitor my finances.

Also, she felt a huge loss in her left over money with this arrangement and saw that I would keep significantly more of my own. This is still being worked out because I think she is calling my bluff here but my plan is to notify her next week as I modify my direct deposit and open a new account. It will definitely be more real there.

TO BE CLEAR (for all the trolls here) yes, she will have less leftover money after responsibilities and it’s still enough to live on. EXAMPLE (for reference): Assume I make $3000 a month, she makes $1000 a month. Responsibilities are $1000 a month.

So she’d contribute $500 and I would contribute $500. Where before she would contribute only $250. This is the last comment I’ll add regarding money and finances. She’s fine and she’s not hurting. I PROMISE.

Complete-Old-1960 wrote:

Bottom line and not to be brutal, but there is one thing you don't have infinite amount of, is TIME 🕰. This has to be resolved in a timely manner. It takes 2 to be in love and to be loved, and u only have ½ of the equation. You need to put a time limit on you being the good guy and think of you and your future.

Look hope it works out for you, but listening to what you are going through and what you could be in for you can still be a good father but also be a great husband to another wife if you find that special person again.

OP responded:

Definitely. I think this “soft ultimatum” (180 method) has been very eye opening. I’m definitely hoping for a rekindling of our marriage but I’m also bracing for divorce. I agree on a timeline and I’ve decided on a timeline for myself privately.

I don’t want to give her a timeline because I want to reduce the pressure, however, after 1-2 yrs of things don’t improve, it won’t be shocking or a surprise if we split. I think 1-2yrs is more than reasonable.

bhvneitt wrote:

I think you are doing a great job with thus "180". Don't lost heart. You will get to see more positive changes. She has been living a certain lifestyle and has an unflattering perception of you built up over the years. It is a struggle for her to see these changes in you. Trust me, things will get better.

Just keep doing that you are doing, over time she will start to respect you more and the intimacy will return. Just ensure that she should never test your tolerance again otherwise you will grey rock her the same way you are doing right now.

Keep us updated on the progress.

OP responded:

I think the 180 method and approach is the best thing I could have done at this point. Regardless of the outcome I believe this will be good for both of us.

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