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My wife is emotionally dead


This isn't the first time I've tried writing to you, but it is the first time I've succeeded. A recent letter from a man in a similar situation pushed me over the finish line.

I'm a man in my early 50s. I am married to a woman who just turned 40. We've been together for about 17 years. To compress the story with shorthand from attachment theory, I'm a classic example of "anxious-preoccupied" attachment. I am a child of divorce; both my parents were and remain distant and unaffectionate, and I've lived my life without a secure base and safe haven. My wife is the classic "fearful-avoidant" type. My wife's biological father killed her mother, and she was raised by her uncle's family. One of her male cousins raped her repeatedly for over a decade.

My wife has the key characteristics of a survivor of sexual abuse: difficulty with intimacy, trust, sex and so on. However, instead of taking the promiscuous route, she adopted a carapace of self-righteousness, intolerance and judgmentalism. Our sex life falls into the borderline sexless category.

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