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  • sirgrebma I'm 42, been married nearly 10 years and have two children 5&7. Just about everyone who meets us, or even friends who think they know us well, think we are the perfect family...happy, healthy kids, good looking (not my words) and so on. However, our emotional connection has been in decline for the last three years and we haven't been intimate in nearly a year and eight months. In the last eight years, due to children, pregnancy issues, false starts, and a lack of physical attraction on my part, we have been intimate at a rate maybe once a year. Basically, I feel like we are a parenting team going through life together with no deeper connection. There are times where we have some fun, mostly when we're with friends or family, but when we're alone we are just different and increasingly becoming more apart from each other. At my suggestion, we've been seeing a therapist together, going on 5 sessions. There was a time when I really loved my wife, a long time ago, but I feel like none of that remains and was hoping the therapist could find something I couldn't. My love for her was never a "head over heels" event, but more a gradual development of a deep caring. I want her to be happy, healthy and loved, but when asked if I want to make it work between us, I have a hard time thinking, "without question, yes." Part of me is wondering if I'm being too selfish to think a relationship should be better, at the expense of any impact on our children's happiness. I wonder if a relationship even could be better, since I obviously play a part in why this one is suffering. I wonder if could just make it through the rest of my life like this and be "ok." Rhetorically, do I need to have sex more often? Who knows, I haven't been having it anyway. Do I need to have a partner who enjoys the same interests as me? I don't know, I can't remember the last time I had that luxury. What I do know is my relationship with my wife isn't fulfilling either emotionally, or physically. The emotional part may be fixable, but we have so many different interests and values in how we live. Maybe the physical part would improve if the emotional part did, but I haven't been physically attracted to her for years now. I'm new to this site, I've got my handle as "stressed out" because that's exactly how I feel. I don't know what the right choice is and part of me doesn't want to waste the next few years figuring out I should have moved on a few years ago. I know no one can answer my own questions, but has anyone else out there found themselves in a similar scenario, or with similar feelings who can share what they feel they did right or wrong and how that played out in retrospect? Thank you! 2 years ago   *   20 replies
    • sirgrebma Hm, I tried to add spacing for paragraphs, but it didn't work...sorry for the giant block of text! 2 years ago
    • splitter hey there..... lord i know this situation. it's so hard. I had prety much the same situation. except i was never attracted to my husband physically, even in the beginning, i always loved him because he was kind and big-hearted etc, and i needed that so badly...and sex just wasn't that importnat to me, so i had sex with him and we carried on like everything was fine until..... dun dun dun.... i found myself attracted to someone else. and that;s when the trouble really started. often people think of affairs as the problem, but i really believe that "someone" comes along to bring things to the surface that need to be brought to the surface... and something it means you are in a marriage that is untenable. have you talked to her openly about your feelings about sex? when i tried to talk to my husband about it it was AWFUL .... because there is no way to do that without hurting their feelings. that said, you have to be honest to move through... long story short, i am happily divorced now for going on 4 years, my kids are well-loved by both of us. i had to leave my marriage to figure out who i was..... and that's happening. i do believe we can give kids great childhoods even when their parents live in 2 different homes... BUT.... i did the work, we spent 2 years in various therapies, saw a sex therapist, we tried ALL KINDS OF THINGS.... not sure if this is helping... 2 years ago
      • sirgrebma thanks so much for the reply. it's very reassuring to hear your experience. your situation is extremely familiar, including the attraction to someone else igniting the recognition of how important those feelings are, however I've remained completely faithful, no affair. Our lack of sex had come up from time to time, but in the past I couldn't be honest about why my role in it was disappearing. She was never a sexual person and with me not initiating due to lack of attraction, it just drifted away over time. It was too hard to tell her that I wasn't attracted to her enough to want sex. Maybe I knew that conversation would lead to a road I didn't want to go down in the past, but it feels like I'm on the verge of it now. Even reading your words about a sex therapist and trying all kinds of things...I just don't have the interest in trying because the feelings aren't there for her. It's not just about sex and intimacy though. We share few common interests and I feel that if we didn't have kids, we'd be doing nothing together. Maybe I'm just tired on a Tuesday right now, but I'm struggling to find something I look forward to in being with her. One hard thing though is that I know if I were to be this blunt to her it would break her heart and I don't want to make her feel that way. What makes me feel worse is that she's said she thinks things aren't all that bad between us, that sure, we don't have sex, but that's not a big deal, that she's just assumed our tensions would solve themselves over time, that she thinks it's ok we don't share the same interests because i would rather do things alone. When I hear that I think, "why can't I feel that way, too?" Maybe because I don't want to feel complacent in a lifetime relationship? I absolutely want to be with someone where I see them and have that desire to be really close to them. Maybe that feeling will pass over time as I get older and I'll regret leaving someone who was happy to just be "there"...shit...stressed out!!! 2 years ago
        • TIMBUKTU i think this is a common scenario.... not everyone can look at it though and just stay busy with "re-modeling the house" or over-focus on the kids or making money.... and it's hard to own WHY we get into relationships with "safe" people to begin with and then we feel bad when their "safeness" doesn't work for us anymore. i dont know about you but i was a twisted teen/20something so i was looking for safety and security when i got married, both of which i was unable to give myself... as i grew up, the relationship stopped working because i no longer needed another person to make me feel safe. 2 years ago
          • sirgrebma Thank you...there's a bit in there that sounds familiar too. When we met, I was pretty lonely, not from NYC and not enjoying the big city. She is from here and seemed to have it all figured out. Still, it feels partly too selfish to think that now that I've evolved that it's ok to move on. But again, this is only part of what has led to the decline in our emotional and physical connections. 2 years ago
          • plasterdust Um, yeah, re-modeling the house, over focusing on the kids and making money...common strategies for avoiding martial issues...you are good Timbuktu 2 years ago
        • 12345 when i was in a similiar space - this booked helped me alot. http://www.splitsville.com/books/good-leave-bad-stay/ 2 years ago
        • CONAGGIN I suffered for years and years with bad intimacy, I always asked for everything and had to be the one asking all the time for the intimacy to happen. I just realised I needed to do something about this situation when I had an accident and I could have died ! I fell 3 meters from loft to First floor and hit back and head - leaving this episode just with panick attacks ! Then I realised I was having a s**** sex life (less than 10 times a year), not a family as I dreamt (he never played with kids), and massive lack of support I needed with my panic attacks and fall - when I think that could be it for me, me ? someone passionate and loving, extremely caring with family and relationship (specially intimacy) I decided to tell him everything black and white, all words and I just got a "you are hysterical, there is no such a thing as panic attacks, you need to exercise and be good to your husband" (the one who didn't give me sex, playful days with kids, support when needed and even hugs I have been denied) ... After this and after offering all sort of therapies, au-pair payment to help with kids, days out, hotel fun sex lunches - and getting NO as answer for 2 years - it was time to leave ... Then he wanted to prove - but too late ... I completely understand your pain an after being through all this I do understand in a way why people cheat - cheating is not always the cause of separation it's actually a side effect of other problems not solved which are just dragged forever ... I am extremely sad for being alone - I had to leave the dream of going back to my own country which I d love and I did all this because I realised life is too short - and I want my kids to have the person full of life love dedication happiness I truly am, not a ghost begging for attention and love ... I hope the sadness of being alone will pass and I hope you make your decision, the best for all of you :) 6 months ago
    • 12345 well, they do say.... Viva la difference!! i dont think a couple has to have the same interests at all. it's important to have space in the relationship to be YOU without the other... otherwise it's just too much. BUT.... depends on what level of intimacy you need. if a relatively non-sexual relationship is cool with you guys - then that's fine. but the issue is that you are craving more... maybe look at what's changed about you that you want something different/more? that way you can keep the focus on you and your choices and not on her... sounds like you love her very much - as a person, mother etc. maybe bring up the idea of having sex with other people if she is happy with it and you're not. it's totally valid to say... hey, this works for you... but parts of this dont work for me.... so i can get those needs met elsewhere and we can keep the marriage/family unit in tact. that's legit! and more people should do that rather than throwing their family down the drain just because one of the partners' sexual appetite/needs is different than the others. 2 years ago
      • sirgrebma I think there's a difference between the love I want to feel towards a partner and the love/caring I feel for my wife. Completely agree that space is important and we have a ton of it, but I feel I could live in that space and be happy. What part of it comes down to, I think, is when you're at the end of the day (or even just waking up!), or end of a week and you're tired or if you want to have some non-alone fun, you should see your partner/spouse and think, "Let's hang out on the couch and watch a movie together" or "let's go out and have a blast and be public, but be in our own world", or "let's go crawl in bed and see what happens", or "let's go fuck each others brains out!" just don't feel any of that any more and haven't for years and years and I don't see how it can come back. maybe a therapist can find a common bond worth building on, but i just feel that with our personalities we will end up right back here no matter what. 2 years ago
        • 12345 i know where you are at.... and i tried countless therapists.. but at the end of the day, he just wasn't the guy i wanted to be on this life adventure with... so, we divorced and were super rigorous about keeping us a "family" although in 2 homes. definitely demanding for each as we had to parent solo ever yweekend etc which can be lonely but you have to use new muscles, make plans, reach out to friends, dig deeper... i found as the traditional "4 top" i would coast... not really dig because "someone else was there".., when i am the only parent... i need to rally, come up with ideas for how to spend the weekend, what to do, how to live... so i guess ask yourself if you are ready to ask for some sort of separation, and dig into co-parenting and being friends. 2 years ago
        • LOVEISCRAZY this booked helped understand why my relationship was ending http://www.splitsville.com/divorce/coming-apart/ helped me see that i wasn't selfish for allowing the full arc of the relationship happen.... beginning, middle and.... end. 2 years ago
          • sirgrebma Thank you! I'll look into it. 2 years ago
            • soclosetobeingfree yup - that's what happens. waning sex life, kids become the focus, you grow apart, go to counseling, and never get the physical attraction back - EVER - that's why people cheat, and that's why they get divorced. I hung in there - 7 years pretty happy and had toddlers, 8-12 was a struggle, but still hanging in there as a family, 13-15 losing interest in sex (mutual) growing apart kids getting older, 15-17 totally unbearable, miserable, depressing, lonely, saving $ to be able to "afford to get divorced" on my end, year 18 YEEHAAAAA - hung in there for the sake of the kids for 10 years! one never knows if that's the right course. Most of my married friends are miserable - i know ONE couple that is happy, and that's because the father is LOADED, the wife doesn't have to work, and he totally kisses her ass and is OK with that. 2 years ago
            • jimneycrochet JUST SAW THIS. yes..... yes.... yes..... and NO i didnt want that to be me. happily Divorced now. 2 years ago
    • chloe I don't have any answers for you, but I too can totally relate. This is so similar to my situation. And I don't really think it's about whether you are "alike" or "different" - my husband and I are actually a lot alike, see things in a very similar way, compatible values, etc etc but I'm still facing the same problems you share here - lack of connection, attraction, etc. I think it may a combo of needing chemistry and needing to nurture that chemistry over time. Our couples therapist said if the connection was strong in the beginning, it can often (not always) be brought back with some hard work. If it wasn't ever really there, it can't be created. Then you're stuck with deciding whether this type of marriage is "enough" or not. Personally I am still really struggling with this. I wouldn't wish this hell on anyone. I really wish you the best as you work to figure things out!!! 2 years ago
      • sirgrebma Sitting in emotional purgatory...a little update... In our last therapy session I admitted I'm not sure I want try and to make this work between us, which shifted my wife's to saying that if I felt that way, then I had to move out. She also said she had already contacted a lawyer and that she believes the best interest of the kids is to be with her no matter what and she would fight for that, hard. I said that I believe what is in the best interest of the kids is for them to know they have two parents who love them dearly and want the best for them and that if we get to a point of divorce, that we should start with a mediator with that premise and see what form that takes. Unfortunately, our therapist is away for three weeks, so we are now stuck in a limbo. I've been looking for short-term places near our apartment I could stay to see what being apart really feels like. We're also doing a workbook called "An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples" which tries address issues blocking emotional connections. Feels like a finger in a dam and I know deep inside my issue is that I'm not sure I ever really loved her as fully as I would want to fight to even get back to our best. :( 2 years ago
        • beaniebops I have been reading all the posts (in relation to Sirgrebma original post) and can totally empathise with everyone I have been married for 24 years (2 daughters) and in the last 5 particularly I have had lots of doubts but batted them away making excuses in my head that they were to do with teens (my eldest daughter v. fiesty teen and v challenging for which we had different views on how to parent her which led to lots of conflict between us). However what really brought things to ahead was last autumn when my husband got v. demanding sexually (always had a problem in that department if I am honest) we had had a v. difficult week with his father dying and I was really not in the mood. He pleaded with me so the sex was 'guilt tripped' and then he forced himself on me (i snapped) and since then we have had no sex or intimacy. I asked him to leave our bedroom (few weeks later) and the relief was indescribable (think a lot of resentment had built up over the years in regard to sex on my part). We are now having therapy my husband is v. keen to make our marriage work but to be honest I know my heart isn't in it. When I bring this up with him both in therapy and outside and have even said I don't love or fancy him he just looks dejected but strangely seems to just carry on as if nothing has happened. `i am finding this all increasingly difficult and now just want some peace but also I want to ensure our 2 girls (teens now) are ok. I have had chats with them they seem ok the younger one described us all as 'roomies'! I am now at the stage of fantasying about having an affair and sex with other people (both imaginary and real). I do like the rest of you feel v. sad about this state of affairs but having had 3 parents (mine and in laws) die in the space of a year feel that life is short (and long as all in their late 80s and all had v long marriages. My parents had v. strained relationship for many years although my Mother was dutiful but I think for years she didn't really love my Dad although did care about him - `i feel my marriage is quite similar). So I can totally understand where everyone is coming from I feel completely 'stuck' and really `i want to move on but my husband just doesn't want to face things and `if I am honest I am scared of how things will be (especially with my 2 daughters) they both adore their father - sometimes `i feel they are a little unit and `i am on the outside looking in). i will also be much poorer and although I feel this way we are good mates. We don't have lots in common but we can chat together and have same political outlook, like same TV programmes, films often, food etc but I know for me something is missing (probably always has been if I am honest). I married at the end of my 20s for emotional security, a family and to be considered 'normal' by the rest of my family who were all married and I would get lots of comments about being single etc so my husband who was a decent guy seemed to tick all those boxes and although I didn't have doubts then there were little niggles. ON the domestic front we get on but the chemistry (which I feel is the glue in a relationship) has always been bit off for me. Sex has always been an issue with my husband always v. keen and me variable for lots of reasons. The other big issue for us has been support my eldest daughter was v. challenging on teen years and my husband would not 'have my back' (noted by a close friend) he would 'sit on the fence' and always side with her on lots of issues. Only really now that we are in deep sh**t is he stepping up bit but he ca can be v. weak when really I want him to be a 'man' and let our daughters know that sometimes they can't get away with stuff. Several friends have confirmed this to me having witnessed him being like this in fact my close friend above said she thought this was much more of an issue than the sex stuff. The 2 issues together I~ think have pulled us apart. Sorry if I have hogged the lime light not looking for sympathy just to say that my issues are similar to all of yours and that it seems this is a much more common problem than I realised 9 months ago
          • Stuckinla I am a man but so many things you say BEANIEBOPS resonate - the truth for you, me, the original poster of this thread is that divorce is most likely the right answer but it is hard and scary so we put it off and put it off...big sigh...hope you are around to chat more. 8 months ago
        • Stuckinla I am in EXACTLY your situation SIRGREBMA - are you still around to talk ? 8 months ago
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