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Love but not attracted to my husband... How did your stories end?

(62 Posts)
Lostwithoutacompass Mon 17-Dec-12 16:54:51

My husband is pretty much faultless, we have been married for 10 years and we have 3 children aged 5 and under. However I am absolutely no longer attracted to him but love him very much as a friend. I have done so much soul searching about this for months & months. I don't think I was ever really attracted to him but it didn't matter because we got on so well, never argued and that seemed enough but I seem to have just hit my limit on feeling guilty or uncomfortable about how i feel, or dreading having to come up with an excuse not to have sex, or comparing him to other men which i know it totally unfair. I think i want us to eventually end up in separate places, not too far from each other, co parenting in an amicable manner. I absolutely do not want to do the: date nights, new underwear, quality time away together, etc, etc. This is not about being too tired or stressed re everyday things, etc to have sex. I have taken the step of saying that I no longer feel that way about our relationship and that I would prefer to focus on our friendship which has always been our strongest asset. I know this must be killing him and I wish i could change things but since that conversation I am happier than I have been in months if not years and feel such relief so surely that says a lot..? We still have a laugh and are kind to eachother, etc. and I suppose I am waiting for him to be ready to take the next step whenever that might be. How is everyone else doing with their situations..?

GoldenFrankincenseAndMyrrh Tue 18-Dec-12 19:02:27

I am just trying to find real happiness.

What about your children's happiness? You've had three children with this man, then you want to take them away from him because you're bored and looking for something new and more fulfilling?

Sorry, I'm trying not to be harsh here because I can see that you are agonising over this, but it does get me a bit angry when people seem to blithely end the relationship with the parent of their children. I'm not throwing stones from my glass house here - I am not with the father of my DD. It was an unplanned pregnancy and we never lived together. Fairly disasterous few years trying to make a relationship work, then split up when DD was two. I've worked bloody hard at keeping things amicable with xDP and we both do pretty well at co-parenting DD - I'd consider him a good friend. But even so, I know it has affected DD, and know it still affects her now (she's 9). She adores her dad, and he her, and very much wishes that she could see more of him than she does. She still fantasises about us all living together in one big house (I've explained that it would have to be a veeeeeeeery big house for me, DP and xDP to co-exist happily grin) and I know she is absolutely happiest when she has us all together.

Please don't underestimate the effect that their dad moving out will have on your children (assuming that their relationship with him is good, and that there is no abusive or damaging dynamic between you). It shakes their little worlds, it really does, and anyone who tells you otherwise is in denial.

How do you think it will affect your children having their father move out? Moving between two homes? Rarely, if ever, having both of their parents present at key events? Having to think about mummy and daddy and why they split up, rather than never giving a thought to 'mummy and daddy' other than this entity that's always there, providing for their needs. wink

I'm not saying that you should stay in a dreadful relationship 'for the sake of the children', but honestly, I think you should take a long hard look at yourself and what you can do to save the relationship with the man you chose to marry and have three children with. You made promises to him when you married him, and if he is a decent man (as you seem to be saying he is), then he deserves better than this.

CuriosityKilledTheCrapTree Tue 18-Dec-12 19:27:23

I completely disagree with the people who are suggesting op stays as promises were made, and she owes it to everyone else.

Does the op's husband deserve no better than someone who us staying because she has to?

What about the kids? Does any adult child ever thank their parents for staying in an unhappy marriage?

EtoilesPleinLesYeux Tue 18-Dec-12 19:38:02

Only leave him if you would be happier being alone. The next man is not round the corner.

FlourFace Tue 18-Dec-12 19:45:15

Have you thought about having an open relationship? Get your jollies elsewhere.

Sorry but I'm with Golden a bit on this.

I don't understand the point of marriage if you give up like this. Do people really think they are going to fancy their DH in the same way forever???? Through raising little kids, through stressful events, through illness, through hormone changes, through insomnia....?

Also the perfect man DOES NOT EXIST. Much less so if you have three kids in tow I imagine.

MistletoeAndVino Tue 18-Dec-12 19:56:19

I'm with Golden on this too.

Also can't help but think that the replies would be very different if it was a male OP saying he just doesn't fancy his wife anymore.

SnowProbs Tue 18-Dec-12 21:10:12

I disgree with Golden et al, sorry.

Yes, marriages take work etc etc but if you arent fulfilled in key areas, I wouldnt stay. How is a sexless, unfulfilling marriage providing any kind of role model for your children? They're babies now, but they wont always be. They'll clock the dynamic eventually.

How many people here grew up with parents who werw together but obviously not happy? Just as many as grew up in divorced families, and with as many sob stories to boot, I bet.

Better off to be single and happy.

SnowProbs Tue 18-Dec-12 21:11:14

And as for the 'if it was a male OP' thing....I would say the same. Would you like to be married to a man who did not find you attractive? I would rather be alone!

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Wed 19-Dec-12 08:17:05

I'm not sure that you can make such a life changing decision if you have been depressed and stressed for months. That, coupled with the stresses of having three under 5. You don't say how old the youngest is.

But if you want to split up and you are the strong one, why don't you make the decision to split? All this talk of letting him come to terms with it and seeing what he wants to do is cowardly, selfish and very unfair to someone you say you love. Poor bloke. Also, I'm not sure how you can say you love someone (yes, even as a friend), when you don't respect his opinions and views.

Lostwithoutacompass Wed 19-Dec-12 08:33:05

Thanks for all the feedback. It's also comforting to hear of those in similar situations or for whom it eventually worked out somehow for the best...

Even before living this myself I would have said something similar to snowprobs. How can a sexless marriage survive? I still believe that. I know that friendship and respect remain long after the physical may have waned but i am not yet 40 and dont want to settle for a life of cohabitation with a friend and my husband equally deserves to be its someone who loves him on all aspects too.

We have only one life so should make it as good as possible BUT before you all shoot me down, i EQUALLY believe we have to achieve it in a way that does not hurt anyone UNECESSARILY, hense the whole crux of this dilemna...

I am from divorced parents who were clearly not meant to be together and remarried very happily. As someone posted earlier, I do also definitely remember as a child wishing I could have both my parents in the same house, etc and I remember thinking that children who had intact families were lucky but also naive about life (my thoughts as a 14 year old, not what I would say now). So i know divorce is awful, it is a failure of some sort (or an acknowledgement that the ideal didn't work out). But i also never blamed my parents for it. It's their relationship that failed not theirs with me.

Golden, flourface, honestly, if you can think of how I can change the way I feel about him, any ideas, I am all ears..

I look at him and know I love him as a friend, that I wish him the very best, never want to hurt him but the thought of kissing him or being intimate with him is an absolute no no. I have been depressed, stressed out, spent days crying buckets over how I was feeling, why was I feeling this way, what to do, who to speak to about it, etc until months and months later I finally pulled up the courage to speak to him about it and since then, I obviously still feel confused, sad, (as does he unfortunately) but I also feel real relief that I no longer have to pretend how I feel. Seriously, any constructive ideas welcome.

CuriosityKilledTheCrapTree Wed 19-Dec-12 08:38:00

I had PND after both my dcs I stayed on anti depressants for agesssss. When I finally came off them, I could see through the fog. The marriage broke up because it wasn't working. Not because I was depressed.

I remember feeling all the things you describe op. I don't think I really was depressed. I think I was just really unhappy.

Lostwithoutacompass Wed 19-Dec-12 09:22:56

Ah thanks curiosity, kind of makes me feel better. I did think i was going mad being so down. One of my friends is also on anti depressants. I suggested that maybe she needed time out from the kids, away from the monotomy of it all, to have a day to herself. She replied that she didnt want to be by herself but wanted to spend quality time with her husband. That spoke volumes to me as In all the bad days i never wanted to do that, its actually one of the last things i wanted to do.

Popmusic, I don't see it that way at but totally respect your opinion. Youngest is 2 so it's full on and rather mad but nothing like the first year! If I turned around now and said lets separate I think it would be horribly violent emotionally for him. By talking and then giving him time to process it and see how he feels I believe he is getting some amount of control over the situation too as opposed to me calling all the shots. That's not being a coward. We are living pretty nicely as friends at the moment. I know that it's not possible to live indefinitely like that and I don't think we can ever be more than that but he has not accepted that yet. Either we eventually agree that friendship is as good as it gets or I guess I will have to leave. But I would rather we amicably reached the same conclusion together.

fluffyraggies Wed 19-Dec-12 09:34:13

Been in your shoes OP. Married young and grew into a different, stronger person over the years. He didn't grow up at all. We grew apart, if that's what that means.

I stuck it out for way too long. I left in the end.

Now we are both happy. Both remarried (this year, within months of each other in fact) The kids are happy. They see both of us. Sticking dogmatically to the the idea that mummy and daddy "being together" is best for children' is rot, sorry. Every situation is unique. My kids are happier now than they were when i was married to their father. So is he. And so am i.

It wasn't a breeze, splitting up, but it could bring more happiness in the long run.

EtoilesPleinLesYeux Wed 19-Dec-12 09:41:03

When you leave you husband because you've fallen out of love isn't it really horrible with you parents and in laws? How the hell do you get the children through it?

fluffyraggies Wed 19-Dec-12 09:50:15

For me it was horrible with parents and in laws etoiles. But that can't be a reason to stay unhappy for the rest of your life. So as not to upset the in laws or your mother! (although it did take me allot of years to convince myself of that fact).

You get the children though it by treating them with love and respect and thoughtful handling. Age appropriate. From both parties ideally. I have never ever said a bad word about my DCs father to them. Their greatest need was to stay in the local' and keep their friends and school and hobbies the same. Which we did. It's massively important how it's handled, i think.

fluffyraggies Wed 19-Dec-12 09:52:53

Can i just add that when i sat down with my mum and explained that i was ending my marriage one of the first things she said was "But you've just had the kitchen done!" hmm !?

jenny99 Wed 19-Dec-12 09:54:36

Just want to add a little something...in cases of 'staying for the kids'....is it better if a split is inevitable that it is when they are younger and therefore grow up not knowing any different? Where I am right now is looking at a split with 2 DCs at very vulnerable ages both in early years of secondary school. Is it actually therefore better to do it rather than hang in there. Is there ever a 'good' age for the kids to cope with it?!

DeXavia Wed 19-Dec-12 09:54:48

Can I ask if you work? And if you'd be prepared to leave the family home? And I am prepared to be flamed for this but it strikes me that you've decide you aren't attracted to him. Now you are waiting for him to make the next move (which is presumably for him to move out). I'm guessing next step after that is for him to leave you in family home and pay maintenance while he finds somewhere (smaller?) elsewhere and with what visitation rights?
I'm not saying stay or go but why is it his life that will be turned upside down for your decision? Your decision - why isn't it your life that changes so radically?

pinkdelight Wed 19-Dec-12 10:16:48

You say you've changed. I totally get that. But you have 3 under-fives. It can't be that long since you wanted to have sex with him. This is a time of change. So much of attraction is hormonal. You could change again, and again. And things could be much worse with a new partner, assuming you managed to find one and make it work with all the extra problems of your broken family. I'm not saying stay in a sexless marriage forever. But don't think of it like that. Of course you're going panic if you think of being sexless for eternity. Take a day at a time. Stop thinking about what's wrong with him and rewriting the story of your relationship to make it seem like he was wrong all along. Think about what you need apart from sex, other opportunities for growth and satisfaction in your life.

Please don't do anything rash right now. Your tone is strangely detached enough to suggest you might not be feeling too rational - the whole thing about waiting for him to end the relationship, as if that's what he wants and it won't involve an unthinkable amount of agony for you all. As DeXavia says - do you want this enough to make the move yourself and move out on your own? And if not, why should he when he doesn't even want it?

Lostwithoutacompass Wed 19-Dec-12 10:34:06

Fluffy your mums comment re kitchen, needed a good giggle this morning!

Dexavia, not at all the case, you've actually got me totally wrong. I will start work again next year. I actually used to be main bread winner but am now facing a career change which will earn me far less just due to logistics, kids school etc.

I haven't looked into the finances but we would both have to leave the family home and live in2 very tiny little places. I have looked on websites and it's definitely a wake up call but there you go. So long as we live reasonably close to one another I am hoping we could do 50/50 of seeing kids as he absolutely adores them and they he and he is a brilliant dad. Don't get me wrong, would be nice to have lots of money, big house and another pad but that is more certainly not part of my world!:-)

Believe me I know my life would change pretty radically too as we will will both be single parents with all that that entails.. I am not waiting for him to make a move, I instigated it but am hoping we can reach a joint decision so we are all as happy as possible.

DeXavia Wed 19-Dec-12 10:42:44

It's very obviously not the right word but I'm "happy" to hear that.
It's a huge life change you are instigating and you can't for one moment expect him to be happy about it - or even to accept it especially short term.
I guess I'm not clear or how you are instigating this - you've told him you are no longer attracted and now waiting for the next move from him. What if he says nope not doing it? Maybe counseling would help - more as mediation than reconciliation. But still even from your own Op you sound like have taken a fairly unilateral decision that doesn't seem to have taken his feelings into account - you can't expect him to just go with this...?

Helltotheno Wed 19-Dec-12 10:56:24

OP this shows no signs of being amicable (because obviously you offloading your feelings on him with no hope of any negotiation to improve things is not the basis for an amicable split). What do you want from him now? Him just to say 'oh right Lost, let's just split and do the friends thing, it'll be better for everyone all round'? Because obviously that's not going to happen, especially when he has to process the fact that you just used him as a sperm donor and have now decided the whole thing isn't for you any more.

Also, in relation to both of you having to downgrade houses, no actually, why can't the children and your DH stay in the family home, since their stability wasn't threatened by any action of theirs? So you move out. You downgrade. Why stop at telling your DH how you feel and that's it and nothing can be done about it? Stop waiting for him to react, just move out!

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Wed 19-Dec-12 11:26:54

Agree with helltotheno. I think this is potentially going to be a messy, bitter separation.

OP, it seems you are only taking in the comments from posters who agree with you.

CuriosityKilledTheCrapTree Wed 19-Dec-12 11:32:01

If op left her DH in the family home then that would mean he'd have custody of their children - may be what he wants but unlikely really?

Helltotheno Wed 19-Dec-12 11:55:48

Could they not still have 50/50 custody?
Also he may want that... we don't know.

notanotherstatistic Wed 19-Dec-12 12:01:25

Lost, your feelings are very similar to those described by my STBXW. She realised in retrospect that almost from the beginning of our 19 year marriage she wasn't physically attracted to me. We separated in 2011. We have two teenage children (a boy and a girl) that we amicably co-parent. We live a few streets away from each other. My son lives with me and my daughter with my STBXW, but my daughter regularly comes round at mealtimes and frequently stays the night at weekends. The arrangement is not as ideal as a successful family unit, but it is a reasonable compromise and the children appear to be happy and thriving with the new situation. The key, I think, is that we have separated amicably and still get on as friends.

Neither of us have partners at present, though I have had two short term relationships that ended largely because I went into them too soon after separating. One ended quite painfully and prompted me to seek counselling, which helped enormously, even allowing me to work out why I had got into my less-than-happy marriage in the first place. I also realised that I needed to spend some time being single, so I could focus on my son and daughter as they adapted to the new situation without the additional complications of a relationship with someone else. However, in both of these relationships I was bowled over by what it felt like to experience reciprocal physical desire: something that was lacking throughout my marriage.

I guess I was prompted to share this with you to offer a possible perspective from your DH's side. I didn't want to separate, and tried to cling on to the marriage at all costs. I now see that separation was the right decision. Certainly, trying to stay with someone that didn't feel about me the way I felt about her in terms of physical desire, killed my self-esteem. Since separating I feel much better about myself and more secure emotionally.

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