Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How many of you would say you are truly happily married?

(184 Posts)
ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 15:28:51

I´ve been married 10yrs to a very nice man who loves me and wants us to grow old together. I thought that´s what I wanted too, but lately I think I´m having a midlife-crisis-thingummy and the thought of being with the same person for the next 30-50 years until I die is quite literally depressing the hell out of me.
I´m trying so hard to want this traditional happy ever after, but I´m not sure I still love him and it´s making me feel guilty and hopeless. Should I just stick with it and hope it´s a passing phase?

MadMumToThree Thu 31-Jan-13 15:32:45

Married for 28 years and as happy as the day he asked me - nothing I want more than for us to grow old(er) together. Stick with it hopefully its just a sticky patch xx

Lovingfreedom Thu 31-Jan-13 15:33:25

It's your life...do what you want with it! Would you miss him? How long have you felt like this?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 31-Jan-13 15:34:24

Ignoring the way you feel is rarely a recipe for anything but disaster. Far better to work out what's at the root of the dissatisfaction and tackle it directly, either individually or as a couple. Some relationships do just fizzle out or people grow apart and want different things. Sometimes boredom sets in, life throws up difficulties or everyone is guilty of taking each other for granted. I don't really subscribe to a concept as vague as a mid-life crisis, I'm afraid.... there's usually something specific.

CheerfulYank Thu 31-Jan-13 15:38:51

I am very happy. DH and I have been together for ten years and married for almost seven. It's not perfect but I'd be devastated not to be with him.

One of my neighbors went through something like that...married to a good man, but just not happy. They eventually divorced and she us remarried now.

Do you think you should try counselling to get to the root of what's bothering you?

firesidechat Thu 31-Jan-13 15:38:58

I don't think hearing about other people's marriage is going to be much help to you because they aren't you and your husband. Only you can say what your relationship is like.

However, to answer your question, I am truely happily married and have been for almost 30 years. My husband was diagnosed with an illness a couple of years ago and the thought of not being together for another 30 years was devastating. The situation is less bleak now thank goodness.

We are happily married because I picked a goodun. We have similar views on the important things, we can still make each other laugh and he is my best friend.

Why do you find the idea so depressing if you don't mind me asking?

Timetoask Thu 31-Jan-13 15:39:11

Quote from captain corelli's mandolin, which I really like:
“Love is not breathlessness; It is not excitement; It is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love”, which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”

I don't agree with cogito. It is humanly impossible to go through all our married lives without ups and downs. I have been with DH 14years, we had a rough patch, but I really value what we have.

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 15:39:54

What's happened recently that might have precipitated this? Have there been any major life changes or career or personal encounters that are unusual? Have you been promoted/lost weight/met someone else for example?

Definitely truly happily married, 12 years now. Not perfect marriage, but happy. I feel loved and appreciated, and I adore DH.

Pagwatch Thu 31-Jan-13 15:41:44

Hmm.
If he asked you today would you marry him?

Is your issue with him or is it the idea that your youth is gone?

badguider Thu 31-Jan-13 15:46:11

I am truly happy in my marriage. Sometimes I wish I could expwrience again the feeling of falling madly in lust with a hit sexy 19yr old but as I'm not a sexy 19yr old that's never going to happen. And as proper life partners of a sensible age compared to me go DH is the best one for me.

MrsVJDay Thu 31-Jan-13 15:48:49

We're happy but then we've only been married 2 weeks! Can you remember how you felt about your DH a few weeks in?

Dahlen Thu 31-Jan-13 15:54:03

You need to work out whether the problem is that you're bored with him/your marriage, or whether you're bored with your life in general. It's easy to confuse the two.

IsThatTrue Thu 31-Jan-13 15:55:20

I'm happily married but we've only been married 1 year. So probably not the exact scenario you're looking at.

yes we are- married for 10yrs and together for 17. Nothing to complain about here.

I think Dahlen's point is a good one - are you sure it's him and not just life in general that's getting you down....?

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 16:05:18

Wow...I go away to make a cuppa and look at all of you....OK, one at a time:
Thanks those who have written about happy marriages...gives me some hope that it´s possible!
Loving, Cogito, Yank, Vander I think I´ve felt like this for years actually and yes, something happened: I met somebody entirely innocently, had a mild flirtation and it dawned on me that I really wasn´t fulfilled at all in my relationship.
Then I started thinking that I am never going to feel that euphoria of "being madly in love" again (as you say, badguider) and it just seems my love life is detined for dulldom evermore. Yes, I know: that "in love" feeling is transient, not real love, etc.....but it´s still pretty amazing when you´re in it, isn´t it?

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 16:09:39

MrsVJDay to be honest, we´d been together 4 years already when we married and the initial excitement had already worn off by then, but it was the right time, the right guy (as in he ticked all the boxes and we were/are compatible in many ways) and we both wanted to have kids and family, so I did what everyone does...got married.
Pagwatch my answer is no. I don´t think I believe marriage is a good thing anymore sad
Perhaps when life expectancy was around 35, then yes, but now to live with one person for 50+ years ??? It´s a lot to ask, don´t you think?

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 16:09:54

Affairs are devastating for all concerned if they carry on. I promise you, a long term affair will damage every single element of every single one of these relationships and is like stepping out of an emotional car accident once it reaches crisis point.

So you've met someone else. It's okay. I know there's loads of judgement about that on here and rightly so in many cases. But the best advice I can give you is decide what you want and act on it quickly. Wasting years of people's lives is not on. Every single person I know who was involved in an affair said the same thing to me, whether is was about ending the affair, admitting to the affair, or leaving the marriage, 'I wish I'd done it sooner.'

Work out what you want, then be as respectful and fair t everyone concerned while you pursue it.
How old are you?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 31-Jan-13 16:11:48

What you're really saying is that you're lacking the things in your life that a new relationship bring to the party.... i.e. excitement, sexual thrills, feeling attractive, flirting, fun, whatever. Few people can maintain the 'madly in love' phase but there are ways to ginger up a tired relationship if everyone's keen. So the question is really..... are you keen or do you think it's a dead duck?

Badvoc Thu 31-Jan-13 16:13:36

Been together 18 years this year and married for 14.
There have been though times...mc, illness, redundancies etc but we are still here.
It isn't like it was.
Of course it isn't.
We have 2 young dc and we are both knackered smile
But the love is still there.
Not the "oh my god, I have to jump you right now" type of lusty love, but the love that comes from knowing each other, seeing each other at their best and worst, and excepting we are none of us perfect.

Poledra Thu 31-Jan-13 16:17:30

I've been married for 10 years, together for 17. We have had our bad times but, with hindsight, I can identify external factors which precipitated them - worst one was when DH was having a dreadful time at work. There's always been something else that has exacerbated any issues.

One thing I would say is that, although I don't have the butterflies-in-stomach falling-in-love feeling all the time, DH can make me feel that way (steady!). Sometimes he'll sneak about behind me during an ordinary day when we're just doing ordinary things and whisper in my ear that he loves me, and I could be that girl from 17 years ago...

confusionoftheillusion Thu 31-Jan-13 16:18:55

Watching with interest

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 16:19:41

Dahlen I think there is an element of being a bit bored in general, although God knows why! My life is so busy, I have kids, just started new job, etc etc...I SHOULD be feeling really excited and positive really
badguider...hope you don´t mind the question, but if you felt you were a hot enough cougar (cringey term alert) to pull that sexy 19 year old, would you still feel contented to "settle" in your relationship?
I just struggle to feel turned on by my poor H because he is just a friend who I feel affection for but I am not at all attracted to him. And it´s not HIM- he is very nice looking, fit, etc.
Maybe I am just not cut out for a LONG term relationship.
It´s not like I think I´ll necessarily meet somebody better. I WANT to want him...but I just don´t :-((

confusionoftheillusion Thu 31-Jan-13 16:20:05

Poledra - that last part of your post made me weep... Lovely for you to have that

Badvoc Thu 31-Jan-13 16:22:44

Mid life crisis?
A poster once posted a MLC script...made for very interesting and thought provoking reading...

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 16:23:20

Sometimes love dies. It's very very sad but sometimes it does. Sometimes one partner grows to feel they want more out of life and they romantically or cynically cast the other aside.

Are you under 35? How much does he know about you feeling this way?

This may help. http://www.chestnuthillinstitute.com/blog/586

Squitten Thu 31-Jan-13 16:24:31

I'm happily married. We've been together for 11yrs, married for 5 and have two boys. We had a few rough patches earlier on - DH used to have different ideas about how relationships should be and was hesitant to settle down. We overcame them though and we both have the same view of life with young kids - it's a tough slog but it's temporary, and nothing said at 3am is taken personally! We'll be TTC our third and final baby this year. I'm really looking forward to having older kids and I'm REALLY looking forward to when we can go on bigger travels and expand our horizons a bit, both with the kids and on our own once they've grown up.

I have felt that fear - the dread of "nothing new ever again!" But I always tell myself that whilst that feeling is temporary, the bond that I have nurtured and grown with my DH over the last decade is so much better. I could never imagine another man knowing all my quirks and habits and not being mortified. I couldn't imagine trusting another man with my children, my secrets, my future prospects, etc.

I think you probably owe it to yourself and your DH to put some time into your marriage - discuss how you feel and see if there's anything you can rekindle. If you can't do that, or don't want to try, then you owe it to both of you to walk away.

Pagwatch Thu 31-Jan-13 16:25:05

Well no,ConfusesishSay I can't really agree with you about that.

I don't think marriage is perfect, nor is it for everyone.
But we have been happily married for 23 years, together for 25.
I hope we are still together after 50 years. I would marry him all over again. He's great.

I think blaming whether marriage works as a concept is not especially helpful.it sounds a bit like you are justifying things rather than just looking objectively at your relationship. It's a distraction really.

If you wantto end your relationship, especially if you want a different one, you need to clear about that.

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 16:25:10

Vander I´m not considering embarking on an affair, for the very reasons you state, and I am trying very hard to commit to being in this marriage. The alternative isn´t great really- kids, finances and of course devastating this man who is actually my best friend after all. I´m not really scared of being alone- sometimes I long for that- but I just don´t know how to reawaken any kind of lust or excitement. I´m sure the problem is entirely mine, I just have no idea what to do about it!

newgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 16:27:19

Hmmm we have fab days and plenty of not fab days - 14 years

I'm not sure many of my friends would say they are 100% happy all the time but there are more than enough good reasons to stay married

Lovingfreedom Thu 31-Jan-13 16:27:36

I reckon if you feel like you don't want to be in the relationship anymore then that's fair enough. But beware that you don't look at single life through rose tinted glasses though...it's not all 19 year old studs demanding rampant sex. And you can't have it all ways...your DH is not going to stay the same towards you and might not be there for you once you give him the Big E. If you have a look at the slim pickings available men on dating sites you might start finding your DH a bit more appealing. Then again....you might feel like your relationship is over and you'd like to be single for a while.

I've been in an unhappy marriage and am now in a happy marriage (I think so anyway).

It's weird because to the outside world, they probably appear exactly the same. But they are/were not.

With my now DH, I feel very calm, very content and very pleased to be with him. (Not all the time obviously)
Ex-DH was/is a good man, but I felt ...kind of unsatisfied all the time.

Sometimes, I wonder if it's as simple as life stages - I'm now early 40s, but mostly I think its a question of compatibility.

Bunbaker Thu 31-Jan-13 16:30:37

That's a very apt quote Timetoask.

"the thought of being with the same person for the next 30-50 years until I die is quite literally depressing the hell out of me."

The thought of not being with my husband until I die would depress me. We have been together for 34 years and married for 31, and yes we are happy. We share the same values, still love each other and have respect and show consideration for each other. Although I'm not sure how this helps you.

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 16:32:18

Okay, well that's really promising. I'd still be interest in how old you are and what level of knowledge you Dh has about any of this. Because you see he might quietly be feeling sort of similar. Even if he isn't he may be able to surprise you with how understanding he can be about the feeling, especially if the alternative is you leaving.

For example, i spent a long time fantasising about getting out of my relationship because I thought if I was single I would drop everything and go and live in Paris for a while but for some reason I felt my OH was stifling me. turned out when I told him honestly about feeling that, and assured him honestly i t wasn't about anyone else but about my age and experience and frustrations, he supported me going to live in Paris for a month.

i know it's hugely different once you have children, but think very hard about what makes you excited about being only our own then think about why you're not doing it now. Really.

venusandmars Thu 31-Jan-13 16:33:09

Well this is what I was going to post:

"My advice is not to look 30 or 50 years ahead, but rather to focus on today, tomorrow, this week. Are you OK (i.e. safe) and respected, and honest with each other? Do you share similar values? If so, what can you do, in a positive way, to increase and build on those feelings? A real shared project between you and your dh, or something that captures your imagination and delights you both, something that brings an energy and purpose into your lives."

But then I read your post about your "mild flirtation", and my post would be:

"My advice is not to look 30 or 50 years ahead, but rather to focus on today, tomorrow, this week. Are you OK (i.e. safe) and respected, and honest with each other? Do you share similar values? If so, what can you do, in a positive way, to increase and build on those feelings? A real shared project between you and your dh, or something that captures your imagination and delights you both, something that brings an energy and purpose into your lives."

Yes. Same advice for both scenarios. Because working honesty and together on something is the opportunity for you both to see whether you can rekindle the excitement of your love. And I disagree about 'dulldom'. It's pretty mindblowing to realise that your roots are entwined (although ime that doesn't happen quite so quickly if you keep digging them up for a quick peek!)

AnotherPoster Thu 31-Jan-13 16:34:45

Then I started thinking that I am never going to feel that euphoria of "being madly in love" again (as you say, badguider) and it just seems my love life is detined for dulldom evermore. Yes, I know: that "in love" feeling is transient, not real love, etc.....but it´s still pretty amazing when you´re in it, isn´t it?

I can relate to the above. I have been with my dh for 22 years, married for 18. We are in a better place now than we have been in the past, but I can't get away from the feeling that I am still not in the really good place of my dreams. I have those daydreams in which I imagine finding someone new and going through that exciting phase of being in love. But the reality of that would be to rip my family apart, affecting children, husband, in laws, wider family, etc. All so I can feel 21 again. And being realistic, that heady relationship would one day become bland and unexciting too, and I would be right back where I am now.

So, what I am trying to say is, I think, as long as your relationship has no positive bad parts to it, as long as it is merely workaday and quietly efficient, as long as there is mutual respect and gentle love and easiness, then, basically, you have as much as anyone else has.

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 16:35:16

Vander I´m almost 39 and I will check out that link now!
My DH knows about everything- we have been for one semi-helpful counselling session and I am reading every "save your relationship" book I can find and trying to work out what I want.
Lovingfreedom that´s funny as I DID go on a dating website a few weeks ago for that very reason- just to see what´s out there- and it was depressing indeed... haha! I´m not under any illusion that it´s going to be wonderful and easy to find somebody else. If I leave it will muck up 3 lives and possibly 4-my own- too! I really want to make it work but how do I make my heart (and libido hmm )want to?

Narked Thu 31-Jan-13 16:35:31

I'd loook at the rest of your life first. Do you feel challenged, fulfilled? Have you reached that point when you feel that you're no longer young and mourning the loss of that?

Narked Thu 31-Jan-13 16:37:08

I had my mid life crisis at 29. I'm precocious grin

Maryz Thu 31-Jan-13 16:40:23

I am, 25 years now and probably too old and set in our ways to ever bother straying grin.

I'm not saying it has all been plain sailing, we do bicker sometimes, and it obviously hasn't got the heart-stopping romance of a new relationship, but I can genuinely say we like each other and enjoy each other's company, while also having lives of our own.

It works well for us.

You don't sound as though you are happy at all at the moment -whether it is your marriage or something else in your life? I think you need to work out what would make you happy, and go from there. You may find that if you were happier with everything else, your contentment would allow you to remember and relive the romance, and find your dh attractive again. Or not.

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 16:42:26

Sounds like you're dealing with it brilliantly . My personal advice would be avoid affairs at all costs and to be the change you want to see. That's all you can do and then, if after six months you are still deeply dissatisfied, ask yourself if you need a different set up for this stage in your life.

GoSuckEggs Thu 31-Jan-13 16:48:21

I adore my DH, I just could not live without him. He is my best friend, my lover and soul mate. I love going to bed with him each night, and waking next to him every morning. I enjoy spending my spare time with him, I will not work ANY over time because it means I wouldn't get to see him as much. I just love him enormously!

That said, life is too short. If you are not happy then you need to sort it out!

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 16:52:19

So those of you happy or "contented" in longterm relationships.....do you still actually find your spouses sexually attractive?
I´m finding the only way I can get turned on and enjoy sex is by fantasising like mad in my head from start to finish - it seems dishonest somehow. Especially since he says he finds I still turn him on like mad....again: makes me guilty.
And yes, we are trying all sorts of things to "spice it up" but essentially, I want to feel up for it to start with and I just don´t.
When I had this brief crush on another man, my libido went through the roof (from which DH benefited greatly, I might add) but now that I´ve stopped myself thinking about him, I am completely disinterested again :-(

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 16:54:39

How long have you been married, GoSuckEggs ?
Vander that´s pretty much what I had decided....work on myself and hope something just clicks inside me. Just really worried that it may never happen....then what?

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 16:55:07

Has he changed physically since you got together in a major way? Are you still in contact with the guy you had a flirtation with?

cupcake78 Thu 31-Jan-13 16:56:21

Generally happy. Get frustrated with dh and married life but would be devastated if we split up.

When we spend time together its great I just wish it was more often.

seeker Thu 31-Jan-13 16:57:22

I am incredibly happily unmarried.

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 16:57:23

Yes, Narked , I probably am! I still feel about 22 in my head. Such a cliché really hmm
Anyone know a good 2nd hand Porsche dealer?? Haw haw

I'm happy. I am very, very much in love with DH and I bleive he feels the same.

We're not without our problems (see some previous threads! wink ) but I wouldn't change a thing.

GoSuckEggs Thu 31-Jan-13 17:02:51

We have only been married 5yrs.

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 17:03:42

Vander : No. He is very good looking but strangely, not the physical type I am generally attracted to at all. I didn´t fall for him for his physical appearance. Not in contact with Mr Flirtation, but still catch myself thinking about him. And get this....my hubby is probably a 7-8/10 on the hunky-scale whereas Mr Flirtation is probably a 2/10 !! What is WRONG with me???
seeker : Have you ever been married, out of interest?

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 17:06:15

I´m really happy for those of you who are crazy about your partners....I SO want that! But....none of you are saying much in reply to my sex question! blush

firesidechat Thu 31-Jan-13 17:10:08

So those of you happy or "contented" in longterm relationships.....do you still actually find your spouses sexually attractive?

Yes I do and, astonishingly, he still seems to find me attractive. I actually find him more attractive now than when we first got married. He's matured quite nicely thank you.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 31-Jan-13 17:10:12

me. Married for 15 years but together for 25 in February. We met when I was 17 and he was 21 so have been together all of our adult life!

out2lunch Thu 31-Jan-13 17:11:53

I could have written your post op
We had been together for over 20 years
I tried to ignore my feelings/keep everything calm but after a while we just couldn't carry on
I have been single ever since -it does get lonely from time to time but overall I made the right decision
A friend told me to imagine my life without dh and how that would make me feel - when I realised I would be happy and relieved I knew it was over between us
Good luck with sorting everything out

So those of you happy or "contented" in longterm relationships.....do you still actually find your spouses sexually attractive?

God yes...

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 31-Jan-13 17:13:25

and yes still fancy DH, mind you with 2 young DC we are not exactly red hot in that dept! But I still fancy him and him me. Holiday times are usually the best on that front, otherwise life just gets in the way

The thing is though, if I didn't feel the way I feel I'd be gone like a shot.

It's not that I take my vows lightly but nor do I think I should remain unhappy or not quite fulfilled forever.

Some relationships just run their course. There's nothing wrong with that.

Doha Thu 31-Jan-13 17:15:55

Been together 34 years married almost 28.( met at 17) Ups and down's like everyone elsealong the way but he is my best friend and l would be nothing without him. We are a team and look forward to growing old together.

firesidechat Thu 31-Jan-13 17:17:56

Forgot to say that I think he is physically attractive to me because of the person he is as much as how he looks. Like me he's not perfect, but is fundamentally a lovely, caring man.

Writehand Thu 31-Jan-13 17:22:23

I'm a widow now, but I was with my DH for 17 years and though we had our ups & downs, and he could be infuriating at times, we were very happy. He was a very blokey bloke, kind and funny. He was a very romantic, demonstrative man, which helps a lot. When you're feeling knackered and scruffy it's very boosting to have your husband come in with a huge smile and call you "my sweetheart."

In February we're having a party for my parents' 60th anniversary. Both my brothers have been married for over 25 years. Being happily married is a knack, like any other. A lot of it comes down to remembering what you saw in each other, and making sure the other person knows they're precious to you. I hate seeing couples who treat each other as dull or, worse, snipe at each other. My DSD says my parents are her role models. She wants to be walking hand in hand on the beach after 60 years too.

What did you see in him when you married, OP? I looked at what you'd written and I fear I see your end in your beginning. You say it was the right time, the right guy (as in he ticked all the boxes and we were/are compatible in many ways) and we both wanted to have kids and family, so I did what everyone does...got married.

Not a lot of passion there. We got married because we couldn't imagine not being a team for the rest of our lives. We were a unit, and that held through all the shit.

When you can't go back to time of certainty when you knew to the marrow of your bones that you loved each other... Well, then I think you're right, OP, that you are perhaps on rocky ground and the days of this marriage are numbered.

Don't mean to sound depressing. Just it sounds as if he was never your true love, and that's why it's kinda worn out. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think in terms of true love. I had mine, and I'll always be grateful.

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 17:23:43

Confused, I would say that I do find my partner sexually attractive, when I project onto him all the things I find attractive about him. I'm perfectly capable of taking them away and projecting on to him all the things I find a bit pathetic or weak or chubby about him and withdrawing my sexuality after a fight, or when I feel suspicious of him or if I am trying to nourish an attraction to someone else. There's a lot in the eye of the beholder. The key is, did you ever find him physically, sexually attractive? That suggests you could again.

Do you respect him? This is a big one particularly for women.

Are you TOO intimate with him? this is a strange one but the joined at the hip,, friendship based intimacy of domesticity can destroy sexuality, which thrives on uncertainty, strangeness and the exotic sometimes. It's worth reading 'Mating in Captivity' by Esther Perel on restoring independence over intimacy to ignite that spark.

deleted203 Thu 31-Jan-13 17:28:06

Very, very happy. Been together 12 years and I love him more than ever. He is kind, steady, hardworking and adores me and the kids. BUT - I had a shit marriage for 14 years before that with a partner who criticised me, was cold, unpleasant, controlling and foul. When I got out of that I decided that I was never, ever going to settle for 'crappy' again and that I would only ever be with someone who made my life better by being in it, rather than worse.

pausingforbreath Thu 31-Jan-13 17:29:52

I feel strongly there can be a very happy ever after - if with the right person.

My biggest role model of this was my parents relationship. They met as teenagers , Mum was Dads 1st proper girlfriend , Mum was too beautiful not to have had a boyfriend before ;-)

I can't remember a time when they had an argument, or be visually in a strop with each other. They always held hands when out etc, every night saw them snuggled on the sofa together .

My Mum gave me the advice once - if you think you find the two of you ready for an argument , stop and think , is it an issue between the two of you or over something someone else has said/ done. If its something else...it's not your argument... It has worked for me many a time.

Devastatingly , nearly 9 yrs ago we lost my Mum. Dad was destroyed, I was on 'suicide watch' as I was so concerned . He told me they were ' like swans' only one partner for life. So yes it was only death that spoilt their party, all marriage vows firmly in place until then. Funeral was dramatic with him throwing himself on the coffin.....

Dad, did 'move on' and moved his new 'special friend' in, but he said to me that it wasn't true love, you were only that lucky once in your life. I felt sorry for her to an extent, for her Dad was ' the one'.

I lost Dad a year ago in November. I went to stay , to help nurse him . We all knew he was terminal, again I felt bad for his partner as it was all about Mum.
He firmly believed that Mum would be at the Gates of Heaven expecting him or come down to take him there.
His partner was accepting, we had conversations and she was so strong, she knew he would prefer mum to him, but she was grateful of the time they had,had. With Dad , I reminisced , thanked him ( them) for what they had done for me and looked through many, many photos together.

We had his funeral, but he asked for another service too. I took his ashes to the exact spot my Mum was scattered, we had a vicar come - Dad wanted them to be joined again in death and it be blessed by clergy once again.

His new partner would not come, she said it was not her place - it was about Dad and his love of Mum.

Treats Thu 31-Jan-13 17:32:40

I felt the way you feel about five years ago - I was beginning to feel bored with my DH and then another man floated into view...... We had a one night stand of which I am NOT proud, but it forced the issue of whether to leave or not.

I decided I would stay because - despite my DH knowing what I'd done (I told him straightaway - not sure if that was the right thing or not.....) he still wanted to be married to me. I felt that his trust and faith in me should be reciprocated. He would have been heartbroken if I'd left.

Looking back, I know very well that I would be a much sadder person today if I had not have stayed. Our marriage has gone from strength to strength. We now have a gorgeous DD, have weathered the storm together of losing our DS1 and are expecting our DS2 in a couple of months. I am madly in love with him now - to the extent that I couldn't contemplate looking at another man now. I fancy him like mad and our sex life is much better than it was. I'm so happy to think that I'll be able to spend the next 50 years - or however long we have - together.

What helped was changing some of the other things that made me unhappy - we moved house and I changed jobs. I also got help for depression.

That's just my story - it might strike a chord with you, it might not. I was lucky in that my one night stand was the catalyst for change. But your story might play out differently........

NinthWavingAtTheSnowman Thu 31-Jan-13 17:34:55

Well luckily for me, my husband adores me, and says I am without a doubt the funniest, prettiest, cleverest, most vivacious woman he's ever met. And he's very rich and very important, so there. And I fancy him loads, mainly because he is so successful andsuch a fantastic father and an amazing lover.

<cough>

Nah, theres good bits and humdrum bits, but after 13 years we're doing ok.

impty Thu 31-Jan-13 17:40:22

Yes really truly happy.

That's not to say its a perfect relationship.... but its pretty close.
Stick with it... we all get bored, we all get scared.

firesidechat Thu 31-Jan-13 17:41:27

When we were engaged I remember hearing that love is more of a decision than a feeling. Feelings can't always be relied on and, when we've had an arguement about some petty thing, all the loving feelings are gone. When we've said sorry and all's good again the feelings come rushing back.

It is inevitable that the heady excitement of being "in love" is taken over by the everyday life. Personally I couldn't ever imagine trading my sometimes humdrum marriage for any amount of first love excitement. It makes me happy and I think it has been a good foundation for a happy family life too. I hope so anyway.

meadow2 Thu 31-Jan-13 17:46:29

Ive been married ten years and am happily married.I am very sexually attracted to my husband,and when we were snogging constantly for the first few months and were always very attracted to each other.

I think it sounds more like you fell into marriage as it was the right time instead of being very attracted to him, and best friends iyswim?

DoItToJulia Thu 31-Jan-13 17:47:09

Oh, pausingforbreath.

How lucky were your mum and dad? How understanding of the special friend.

Ninth grin

~I can honestly say I am now very happily married. I'm 29 years old and have been married 10 years. We have been together longer. We've had our ups and downs but we are over that now.

I still find him sexually attractive most definitely! grin

Samu2 Thu 31-Jan-13 17:50:01

Together for 7 years and I am truly happy. That's not to say that it is all plain sailing, we have had a few ups and downs but nothing we couldn't work through. I love him to bits and I am still as sexually attracted to him as I was the day we met.

This is my second marriage so having a bad first marriage has made me appreciate what I have now.

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 18:00:43

Wow, pausingforbreath that´s an amazing story...how lovely!
And treats thank you for that.....it seems some people manage to rekindle things and some don´t.
I don´t think I was ever 100% head over heals in love- don´t get me wrong, we DID feel pretty passionate at the start- but I guess I believed one should marry somebody with whom you are friends first as I was aware that the 1st flushes of love fizzle out after a year or two.
I´ve been emotionally "shut down" for several years without realising it- just coasting along thinking, well, this is it and don´t expect any more. This "flirtation" woke me up and made me realise how much into a protective shell I´d gone and how much I´d stopped caring about the relationship. Oh dear...I do wonder if it´s just me being shit at relationships or if it really would be different with someone else...so hard to know!

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 18:09:07

Vander are you a psychologist? You are VERY good at this! wink
I think it may well be that we are too on top of each other and I´ve been trying to get him to understand this for a while. We don´t have much of a life outside work and kids and I REALLY want us both to develop seperate interests and hobbies. We have no family close by so we are a very close-knit family of 4. When I say we should do more stuff apart he says that we have so little leisure time that he wants to spend it together. I feel really suffocated sometimes!

shoppingtrolley Thu 31-Jan-13 18:34:47

Dear confused. I have been in this situation though with relationships not marriage (phew).

I was together long term with a lovely, handsome trustable man who was very loyal to me and whom I did really fancy in some ways. I had always had a niggling feeling something was wrong and I felt flat or bored, or on the other hand anxious and like a dirty sex-crazed demon who mustn't let on I had hidden urges!

Someone came on the scene who I really, really fancied. I couldn't stop thinking about him and was completely fixated. I lost all interest in my relationship, and that continued getting worse. The flirtation seemed to confirm my feelings about my actual partner. I never acted on the flirtation but probably would have done if a scenario arose. For its own set of reasons the Ltr imploded and I really hurt my partner.

I'm not with either of them now and can see it clearly looking back. Partner was lovely and perfect but for some reason I was just not committed to it. It was right for me to leave but I could have made it work. The flirtation now seems ludicrous: a much younger, unattractive man.

Now in a different relationship, very in love and fulfilled. But dare I say the basic ingredients are not really any different what has changed is my commitment level. The je ne sais quoi comes from you not him. You could recover it, with his help!

pausingforbreath Thu 31-Jan-13 18:59:07

DoItToJulia - they were lucky but I feel I was luckier to have them as parents, they worked at it - it worked.
His special friend , yes she felt she was just looking after him for Mum.... Sad for her though.

ConfusedishSay - thanks, hard to live up to though ;-D

Good luck with sorting out your needs and feelings- finding your happiness again.

Lizzabadger Thu 31-Jan-13 19:00:43

Hypothetically, how would you feel if you found out your husband was having an affair?

If you'd feel jealous there's perhaps still something there to save.

If you'd feel relieved, I'd say it's over really.

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 31-Jan-13 19:14:37

Ninth - but does he have an enormous cock? grin

AloeSailor Thu 31-Jan-13 19:19:41

Watching

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 19:50:23

Interesting. I have seen so many relationships flounder where one well-timed email from an outsider to the man saying 'back off!' would have helped. It's sad but the sort of intimacy you're describing, which is really only intimacy of quite a physical and mundane kind, kills eroticism off. There's a story in 'Mating in Captivity' where Perel describes how the moment of most attraction to her partner is when she sees him descending an escalator to meet her but hasn't seen her yet. At that moment he is entirely him, observed but not linked to her yet. And she sees him again as a stranger.

One of the reasons that 'negging' works (subtly putting down attractive women when men are trying to pull) , the horrible, vile technique celebrated in books like 'The Game', is that many women respond to feeling like their partner is just out of reach, status wise. Do you do a lot in the household? Are you in control in most scenarios? Are you content he would never stray? Do you sometimes wonder whether you really need him? All of these are a recipe for status imbalance that can lead to loss of attraction for women (for anyone but particularly women).

You may think about writing to him, to outline ways in which he could turn you on, fantasies you have, embarrassing as that might seem. And he could really do with trying to retain a little more of his mystique and masculinity.

Bear in mind that women who find themselves in the sort of relationship I define above (and I'm not saying you're one) often get themselves there. They win a man, dominate him, lose respect for him, lose attraction for him, leave, then start again. Think about what your parents relationship was like and how that compares. It' s a process, so don't think you'd be safe by choosing another man.

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:00:41

Any pointers as to how to make it work, shoppingtrolley? Tips please!! lizza my knee jerk response is that I wouldn't actually care if he were having an affair! That's really bad, isn't it? I don't know if the real situation would elicit a different reaction, but I just feel dead towards him :-( I'm just hoping that somewhere buried deep is just some sort of spark that can be reignited.... I just don't know where/ how to find it

GetOrf Thu 31-Jan-13 20:10:58

Bloody hell I wish I hadn't read this. I was expecting everyone to say 'no, DH is a bit of a tosser but I put up with him because we rub along together most of the time'. Not heartfelt love after years of marriage.

I wish I could bloody well have had this. Two long term failed relationships, one was a horrible git but I was young and stupid, and the other I fell absolutely head over heels for, real passion and love, and I couldn't believe how lucky I was, and all that love faded really. We split up last year and although I know it was right I still miss him horribly and wish we could turn 7 years back. It is the anniversary of our first meeting this weekend. We always celebrated it.

I am never going to meet anyone else because I will never believe that love again. The thought of talking to another chap and going on a date makes me shudder.

shoppingtrolley Thu 31-Jan-13 20:12:03

I think you need to look at lots of photos of things you've done together and remember the good times. I bet you've done so much together, it would be a real shame to throw it away.

Also go to lunch with an old RL friend and admit your feelings to them. Ask their advice.

I think you've reached a real watershed moment in your relationship, it could even be better if you manage to troubleshoot this crappy patch.

Can I be blunt:
It sounds like what you want is a damn good s_ with someone exciting / mysterious. Why don't you tell your husband you have a fantasy about meeting a stranger and having a night of wild passion with them. Hire a babysitter and get him to pick you up in a bar, get you tipsy and then take you home and show you a good time. I bet this will work.

GetOrf Thu 31-Jan-13 20:12:50

Oh I am sorry what a self indulgent post.

OP - you sound like you have been pretty unhappy for a while - but is it dead in the water? If you have a hope that a spark can be reignited is it worth a try? I know it sounds terribly false but could you try date nights, doing something together like when you first met? Could it be just drudge of life has worn that spark down? If it is dead, it's dead and no point flogging a dead horse, but if there is something there perhaps all is not lost.

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:12:58

Oooo, Vander you could be onto something. I wouldn't say I'm very domineering, but I have lost a lot of respect over the years and I am 99,9% certain he would never stray, so guess I am complacent. Interestingly, I had a mother who did EVERYTHING and a lazy rather unsuccessful father who got nagged at all day long- she had no respect for him. I often feel very disappointed by men when they show weakness and then lose respect. Jeez, I think I'm probably a psychoanalyst's dream.

shoppingtrolley Thu 31-Jan-13 20:15:17

*get your DH to pick you up in a bar I mean, not the babysitter to pick you up -- that's a whole other strategy! shock

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:19:41

Sorry to hear of your dispondency, Getorf - perhaps once a bit more time has passed you will feel optimistic again? And shopping , I guess I should try the whole role play sexy fantasy thing, but will that honestly have any long- lasting result or will we from this point onwards have to play saucy games and live out fantasies the whole time ? Sounds fun but exhausting! Haha

Dahlen Thu 31-Jan-13 20:23:25

It's possible to be stupidly busy and still really, really verging-on-going-insane bored. There's a difference between busy and fulfilled. What hobbies did you have before you got caught up on domestic treadmill? Are you doing the job you want or one that fits in round your DH's so you can be primary carer for your DC? How often do you see your friends? What do you do that is exclusively for you?

One of the reasons boredom can enter into long-term relationships is because there is nothing separate anymore, nothing of interest that one person does that is different, new and exciting to the other. That's why it's vital to maintain your own hobbies and friendships IMO. While increased intimacy brings its own rewards, familiarity also breeds contempt. YOu need a balance between the two.

In your shoes I'd try to improve those other areas of my life first, and then re-evaluate my marriage. Just out of interest though, how much effort does your DH put into the relationship? I'm taking you at face value that he's a nice guy but you can be a nice person and still lazy at your relationship. Does he do his fair share around the house? Surprise you with a nicely cooked meal one night? Buy you flowers for no reason? Run you a bath if you're feeling really tired? Encourage you to follow your ambitions?

Me! Known each other 18 years, together 15 and married nearly 5. I love him completely and still find him very sexy! He also makes me feel attractive although I have way too many wobbly bits! He is incredibly kind, loyal and hard working. He has been my rock and looked out for my mum and sister too. We have been through an awful lot really terrible things but stuck together.
Don't get me wrong, he does my head in at times but I wouldn't be without him. smile

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 21:05:48

Sounds like you have become complacent, Confused. It's pretty common as a shape now that women earn their own money, still do the majority of the childcare and are often better educated than men their own age. It sounds like your parents instilled an idea in you too that weakness or laziness in a man is to be despised and your mother may have passed her rolling eyes onto you, so he'd have to be pretty firm and independent to get more of your interest. You may have to be brave enough to let him know that's what you want.

Essentially, is there anything you can think of that he gives to you that you value, and would miss if it were gone?

People can easily mistake men in these sort of relationships for being useless when actually the women have colonised the relationship in such a way that they don't actually want to have anything out of their control or purview. This is often inherited from a mother who was frustrated with the marriage she ended up in.

Arisbottle Thu 31-Jan-13 21:13:17

I am blissfully happily married, we are very similar and have a very passionate marriage. I would not settle for any less .

I agree with a previous poster who said that you are objectifying your marriage. I don't think you dread spending 30 years with anyone, this is about your marriage and your husband.

It may help to see things from another perspective, does your DH deserve to spend 30 years with someone who finds his mere presence to be depressing.

venusandmars Thu 31-Jan-13 21:50:14

Re-igniting the spark? Well I was in a similar position a few years ago: in a relationship for 15+ years, and all OK-ish but all very familiar and routine, and a bit dull; my interest was taken by someone else, and of course they did seem so much more exciting than my dp. (we didn't have an affair, and I don't even know if the other man was up for it)

So there I was in a dilemma - to end a good, solid relationship which wasn't setting the heather alight, and all on a whim with nothing concrete to go on - or do what? I decided that I owed it to myself and dp to make a go of things, and as someone posted earlier I deliberately focused on all the aspects of dp that I really liked and loved. Not the convenient life-style things, but the really personal things, Like how his eyelashes looked when he was asleep, or what it felt like to have his tongue gently touching mine when we kissed, or the neatness of his buttocks, or the very best of intimate moments.

I kept a journal, and wrote down things where he had made me feel good about something - maybe where we'd laughed about something together, or when he'd asked for my advice / help, or when he trusted me with a major decision that would affect both of us, and compliments that I'd stopped noticing (or believing)

And then (after staring to feel lusting and fully attracted to him) I also put effort into creating time for us to be together - a picnic in a sunny wood (with mush kissing), or 15 minutes before bed with the TV off, and the computers off just talking about something, or trying something new together.

It felt like a deliberate choice - I could either choose to notice and appreciate all the good things, or I could focus on his fixation with a boring hobby, or his sagging belly, and my feelings of being taken for granted. All I can say is that it worked for me and I did rekindle the love and lust, and I foresee us being close and happy and sexually attracted to each other for many years to come (and we're already quite old!).

The interesting thing fro me was that I didn't sit him down and tell him he had to be more sexy, or more caring, or more adventurous, it was fundamentally changed by what I thought about him.

ConfusedishSay Thu 31-Jan-13 22:15:01

Well, Dahlen, up until this huge shake-up, he was not making any effort at all. I hadn´t received so much as a single hand-picked dandelion for a good few years, I was doing most of the domestic chores, he was pretty grumpy and completely boring. Now, however, he is making a humungous effort and even picks up the hoover (falls off chair), is Mr "Can Do" and Mr Perfect, really- the guy I always wished he´d be....but sad I´m worried it may all be coming too late!
Vander If you´d asked me 6 months ago what I valued, it would have been hard to come up with much. Now however, he is much nicer to be around and is doing a lot of stuff around the house and with the kids which I certainly value. What would I miss? Well, having a partner in raising the kids, running the house and day to day stuff. I would miss the security he gives me. (and this sounds so horribly cold-hearted and selfish!) I would miss his friendship too. I think you have some points right about the relationship, but I am not really controlling or bossy. If anything, I gave up on him too soon - as soon as I felt he wasn´t fulfilling me, I just felt resigned. I refused to turn into a nagging, begging harpy, so I just put up and shut up but in the process, my emotions went cold.
And thanks, Venus.....I will try that actually. Might help to focus and be as positive as possible.
I do not want to make him change- I must learn to accept and love him as he is, I do know that.

Dahlen Thu 31-Jan-13 22:29:37

Hey, go easy on yourself. Your last post changes things slightly.

You've been married 10 years. His change of heart into Mr Perfect has only been happening for the last 6 months. That's nothing really. I'm not surprised it hasn't won you over yet. The truth is, then, that apart from the last six months, he hasn't actually been a very nice man. I"m sure he wasn't horrible, but if he was lazy on the domestic and parenting front, that's selfish behaviour that leaves you feeling like a glorified skivvy and I'm not at all surprised that your heart has been sinking at the prospect of another 10, 20 or 30 years like that.

The fact that he's listened to you and tried to change, is fabulous, but both of you are being entirely unrealistic if you think that six months of effort is going to turn things around completely. It may take a couple of years before you feel confident that this new him is here for good, and until you do, I don't forsee the passion returning.

A personal comment on the idea of changing someone - yes, it's futile to try to try to change someone. But that doesn't always mean you should love them for who they are. If the 'fault' is significant, it's perfectly ok to hate it and to refuse to accept it. However, if they don't change as a result, the only option is to decide if it's a dealbreaker or not and leave or put up for good.

Kithulu Thu 31-Jan-13 22:32:10

ConfusesishSay I could have written every one of your posts. I am in the same situation at the moment and really don't know which way to turn.

venusandmars that is a lovely positive post, I totally agree its all in my head. I worry that if I did take the time to focus on the positive, then at some point in the future I will still come back to feeling this way.

Vader yes I am aware that I am mirroring my Mum and she can be a cow to my Dad, lots of really scathing comments. He (and DH) just let them 'roll off' and don't bite back, but then a lack of respect grows. I can see I'm doing it and try to stop. But I keep repeating things I have heard my mother said.

wordfactory Thu 31-Jan-13 22:33:42

OP I have been happily married for fifteen years.

If anything, our happiness has grown. Where the raw passion and romance has lessened, our desire for and enjoyment of the same things has increased. We are Team Wordfactory.

I feel like I have someone on my side. Always. Someone who wants me to be happy. Someone who wants to be with me. And this is important, I think. Couples, especially after DC, need to want to spend time together as a couple. Not en famille, or with other friends, but just the two of them, talking and laughing and planning.

Don't get me wrong, he can be difficult. Infuriating. Impossible...But life without him is unthinkable.

wordfactory Thu 31-Jan-13 22:40:16

kith respect is highly important, I think.

DH is very measured. No shouting, belittling, words said in anger. The opposite of my parents.

And of course there's sex. I think people underestimate how important it is to prioritise an active sex life. I'm sure there are sex free marriages that work just fine, but to me they're friendships. Nowt wrong with that, of course. A couple is different. They need that intimacy to continually cement their bond.

carmenelectra Thu 31-Jan-13 23:03:40

I am not married but have been with dp 20yrs. We are very happym sex life good adventurous. Mostly regular but blips at times with dc's, work patterns etc.

I want to grow old with him but I hope we don't fall into too comfy a routine where we are just best friends. Intimacy is so important. I fancy him and he always says how much he fancies me and I look good etc. I hope these things don't change.

venusandmars Thu 31-Jan-13 23:11:35

kithulu yes, I agree, it could all slip back, but there have are couple of things that I've found... one is that the more deliberating loving I am towards dp, the more it all seems to be reciprocated, and I feel loved by him, and I feel desired by him smile. Also that because l'm more in control of myself and how I feel, that enables me to be more forthright with dp when there are things that seem to be not right. So for example, I focus on speaking to him about specific behaviours that upset me (like not letting me know if he is going to be late in for dinner) and it doesn't feel to me like it is all wrapped up a frenzy of other emotions and irritations.

So it not only feels better all round, but the bedrock of mutual desire and intimacy help us communicate better about difficult things.

And of course it's not all honey and roses. I could throttle him for the way he chews his food sometimes, but it's far different from a general disillusionment that I felt a few years ago.

venusandmars Thu 31-Jan-13 23:17:40

confusedishsay all the things that you say you value are great, but security and being a good dad, and great around the house (important and wonderful as they are) are not the things that are going to stir your loins . That's why for me, bringing the positive focus onto really personal aspects of dp - the way when he smiles really widely there is a little glimpse of a crooked tooth, which for some reason I find very sweet and sexy - that's the stuff that I notice.

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 23:24:13

Sorry if it seemed I as trying to call you bossy, I really wasn't, confused! We're all trying not to turn into our mothers I suspect and it's possible that a refusal to go there and become that created a distance in you towards him that could have ended in resentment if not picked up on early enough.

Those things you value are great but I suppose I meant more things he brings to the relationship that you don't. Not so much him helping or assisting you or being nice to you. the security one is good but is there anything specific that you look up to him for contributing, that someone else wouldn't necessarily provide, rather than sort of generally appreciate in an every day way?

SweetSeraphim Thu 31-Jan-13 23:26:56

What a touching post pausingforbreath

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 23:30:06

If that's not clear, specifically, I really value in my partner that he has vast electronical knowledge, which I don't, meaning not just that around the house he's great, but we have the latest in all sorts of A/V technologies which I get to appreciate because he's in to them and it enhances my life that I'm really interested in his hobbies and knowledge. He also is much much stronger than me emotionally and brilliant in a crisis. if I lost him I'd have no one in my life who is like that and it would be a real lack in my life. He also knows a lot about my world of work and advises me about it sometimes when I have a tough decision in a way that makes me think of him as wise. These are concrete things that I value that he brings into my life and make me respect him which does a lot for my finding him attractive in a basic way. If you can't point to anything you actively appreciate and even admire that he brings then you may be taking him for granted or with someone who doesn't enhance your life.

Sex if often a symptom in a relationship, not a cause.

leadinglady Fri 01-Feb-13 00:08:46

I am in the process of splitting up with DP of 22 years. we have 2 dcs and I know he fell out of love with me long before i fell out of love with him. I stayed with him because i thought we were going thought a bad patch and would come out of it stronger. He stayed with me for the DCs. (which he chose to tell me on my birthday 3 years ago). We've gone from lovers to friends to strangers and for the last 5 years its been hellish with me crying myself to sleep every night.

What i'm trying to say is, only you know what is wrong with the relationship, you and your DH, and he is probably aware that your feelings have changed.

You have invested time in the relationship and i think you owe it to each other to try to make it work but if at the end of the day you just don't love him any more then you should leave.

Do you have children? Have you told him about your feelings? He might be feeling the same? does the other person know you are married?

jenny99 Fri 01-Feb-13 00:13:42

Such an interesting thread. Really helpful to me too thank you everyone!

Just over a year ago I felt like you do OP. I told my husband that I feel the love and excitement has gone. (Been together 20yrs). I am in my (very!) early 40s. Nothing changed. Regretably I had an affair. I have confessed all and we are now working on our marriage. My problems are (and I know I am incredibly lucky to have a wonderful husband who is trying to work through this)....
I feel he has changed and lost his passion and zest for life...become very middle aged. I want back the fun loving funny man I married. Am I trying to change him or to reignite something in him that has gone.

Sexually I am not attracted to him at all any more. That went when I felt his personality changing... He works long hours and we don't spend much time together because of that during the week. I hope that if he rediscovers some of his sense of fun and we can rekindle what it was that led us to get married, then the sexual stuff will come back?!?

It's hard and I don't know if I am clutching at straws or realising that this is what we have and it is good and solid and the dream and fantasy of everything being hunky dory doesn't exist. I don't know if I have changed and he isn't the right person for me any more or if I am just having my 'mid life crisis' and I hope I come out the other side.

My BFF says marriage needs working on. They aren't easy and we need to work hard to keep them good and alive.

I want to try. I want to be able to look back and know I tried.

Some days I can see it working out. Some days I can't.

I hope some time soon there are more good days than bad.

I want it to be ok. And for you too OP x

venusandmars Fri 01-Feb-13 09:00:10

I understand what you mean jenny but are you now waiting for something to change in your dh and hoping that somehow he will regain his sense of fun? Or are you thinking that you might just 'adapt' to the current version of him?

For me neither of those would have worked - I certainly didn't want to reduce my expectations of how our life together would be.

I suppose I accept that I have more imagination than dp (and perhaps that is one of the strengths that I bring to our relationship) so I apply that to create situations that allow dp's personality and fun-side to flourish. For example after talking about stars and realising that our streetlights diminished out view, one night I put hot chocolate in a flask, and drove him out into the countryside so we could watch the starts together. He then amazed me with his knowledge of different things about the sky and stars and satellites, and he told me about a childhood trip with his dad. All of which made me feel closer to him, and felt like we were really communicating. Of course it would have been easier to stay in our nice warm house - but then a couple of weeks later he took me out late in the evening to walk on a beach in the moonlight and see the phosphorescence in the sea.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Fri 01-Feb-13 09:09:38

I have been with my DH for 28 years and can honestly say that I feel happier and happier as the years go by. I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.

Disclaimer......
Now, I have to say, if I had a magic wand I might wave it over his head and tweak a few things. He does a few things that irritate me but I don't mind at all.

I still think he is really handsome too.

OP. Try and put your all into the marriage, think about it and actively do things to promote your relationship. Do date nights, go for walks together or whatever it is that works for you.

ConfusedishSay Fri 01-Feb-13 09:29:17

Thanks for all these great responses! It really helps to hear from people who have been there and got through it one way or another and also to know there are many in similar circumstances.
Leadinglady He DOES know everything and there are kids (or perhaps I would have left years ago if there weren´t!) He doesn´t feel the same way- sometimes I really wish he did and we could do a mutual and amicable split.
Dahlen thanks....that´s helpful to have a sort of timescale that doesn´t put me under the pressure of expecting a turnaround in 6 weeks or something!
And Vander I know you weren´t calling me bossy!! :-p You are right though- I overlooked those kind of things and he is also quite techie so yes, I get to benefit from him introducing me to i-everything-Apple and he sorts out all the computer disasters! He also works in the same profession as me and is often encouraging and gives good advice. I admire him immensely professionally (although sometimes if we work together, I have the urge to throw sharp objects at him! haha) I value that he never attacks me in a nasty personal way or plays dirty in arguments- he really has a lot of good points. I must go and write a list to stick on the fridge, mustn´t I?
And the fact that he is doing his utmost to fix things and be how I want him to be...*Jenny99*- have you spoken honestly with your hubby? Perhaps he will need a shake up like mine had to get him to rediscover his fun side again.
I just feel so crap that he is making so much effort while I struggle constantly with apathy. He´s going to get fed up with me not reciprocating eventually and I wouldn´t blame him!

ConfusedishSay Fri 01-Feb-13 09:32:35

Sorry Jenny99...what I meant was I realise you have told yy DH a lot, but have you told him you are not sexually attracted to him anymore? That´s the one thing I haven´t come out and said to mine. I think it would be devastating, even if he possibly suspects it anyway. sad

jenny99 Fri 01-Feb-13 09:43:30

Thank you for your comments both of you, venus I am hoping that my husband will get back his spark and then we will live happily ever after. That I will appreciate the whole package and will want to stay with him. Does that make sense? I will only stay if I really am happy. Otherwise I am not scared of being alone. I won't stay for the sake of it.

We haven't had sex since May. I told him October 2011 that I don't fancy him because his personality has changed and that has affected how I feel about him. Between October 2011 and May 2012 we had sex 8 times. I thought I would try a few times an see if things changed. They didnt sad so yes, he is aware of it. And if course it was an incredibly hard conversation and hurt him a lot.

My worry is, unfortunately, the sex I had in my affair (which consisted of one 4 day weekend together) was mind blowing. It felt like I have never felt before. Not just physically but the way we discussed it beforehand and had talked about sex. I don't think it will ever be like that with my husband. And I need to work out if that matters to me. Do enough other positives outweigh that?

Surely not everything is perfect even in a great marriage but I need to work out which bits are the most important of what I have and whether I will be happy.

It is very hard because it is my husband doing the hard work and trying to 'change' yet it is me that is unhappy. I am very lucky to have him.

But I feel I want to try. I know I really loved him very much and we were best friends when we got married. I want to know if that can come back or if we have both moved on and changed too much.

Where is the magic wand??

happydotcom Fri 01-Feb-13 09:49:25

No. Married for three yrs, together for 5. We have a gorgeous 20 mo son. H shouted and swore at us this morning as ds was crying (0600) and he wanted to sleep.
He never gets up until lunchtime everyday. I'm only 38. I wish life was different. I wish I was the person I was five yrs ago and not rushed into marriage.

showtunesgirl Fri 01-Feb-13 09:54:40

I think the main thing is to say something much sooner rather than later. DH and I have been together for 13 years and at the mo we are going through a difficult bit as we've had virus after virus the last month or so, just both paid our self-assessment so are broke and have a 14 month old DD and all the usual balancing tricks that that entails.

But, though maybe we aren't succeeding that well at doing many things together, we are still trying. And I do think that the effort is quite important. Keeping that other person in your thoughts and really wanting to be with that person and also not tolerating any bullshit from each other and massive drop in standards.

I hear too often: we've been together for years and we don't talk anymore but that's to be expected. I say no, it's NOT to be expected but if that's what you expect, that is what you will get. Say to yourself that you deserve that time, TALK to your partners, don't just expect them to magically become what you want them to be. That's not fair as they are not mindreaders and you are setting yourself and them up for a fall.

But if it really isn't working out, then walk away to give both of you a chance to find something better.

ConfusedishSay Fri 01-Feb-13 10:02:52

Wow, happydot he sounds horrible. Must you stay if he´s as bad as he sounds?
You see, this is what I am battling with. I hear of tons of men who are 1000x worse than my husband and I think to myself, "What the hell is wrong with you? Be grateful!"
I really hope you can work something out for you and your little one.
Jenny that does sound tricky...does your husband not feel incredibly resentful about the lack of sex? When I 1st started going off sex (even before I had my 1st child, tbh) it made my DH very upset and resentful and I´d read how important, almost fundamental, sex is to men and in relationships so I worked out a way of getting turned on by sexual fantasies in my head so that we could at least keep it going. He still was pissed off that he had to initiate it 90% of the time, but at least he still "got some"!
Then this other man came along and I realised that I actually had a libido again....it felt amazing to be a sexual being once more. Suddenly I thought about sex and initiated it.....but it was never because I found my DH sexy :-(

So I know EXACTLY what you mean......it´s weighing up whether you can live without ever feeling that amazing rush again (however transient it will be). What I reckon is that if you are happy and contented, you won´t need to seek it, but if you can´t feel that way with your partner you will long for it. Does that make sense? If you find that magic wand, Jen , can I borrow it?

happydotcom Fri 01-Feb-13 10:10:25

Thank you confused and sorry for hijacking! I don't know what to do except try to stop crying as off to work in half an hour.

Timetoask Fri 01-Feb-13 10:17:15

Oh... happydotcom... I am NOT one to say "separate" as soon as things go wrong, I do believe it working at things and not giving up at the first hurdle, BUT your case is so different, you haven't been together for a very short time and you are already so unhappy.
Do you really want to be with this person for the next 10 years, 20 years, 30 years?
It sounds as if you need to think about things seriously and regain your happiness.

Timetoask Fri 01-Feb-13 10:18:32

I cannot write this morning!
... I do believe IN working...

...you HAVE been together for a very short....

confusionoftheillusion Fri 01-Feb-13 10:27:28

confused - I am in pretty much the same boat as you except unfortunately I am just trying to get out of a 2 month affair. My DH is perfect on paper and I married him for very similar reasons you married yours. I don't feel sexually attracted to him, haven't for years, maybe ever.
The affair obviously has thrown up lots of questions about our marriage (he has no idea about it) and also lots of questions about me and what I want.

I reall like venus thoughts and suggestions. I think I could live relatively happily with dh but sexually I fear I would be frustrated - and really he deserves better a he is a wonderful man. We talked about splitting last yr as he was violent to me (just once - out of character - I forgave) but that has changed how I feel about him too.

Looking back maybe I shouldn't have married him. My mum married someone who on paper was a crazy choice and has not had an easy marriage but they are just so in love with each other and always have been. My choice to marry someone 'sensible' was clearly influenced by that which I can see now. It's so hard to know what to do. Strangely comforting to know others are in the same boat though.

It's so amazing to hear all the stories of people who
Are so passionately in love after many years. Really quite tear jerking!

lemonstartree Fri 01-Feb-13 10:34:21

*They win a man, dominate him, lose respect for him, lose attraction for him, leave, then start again. Think about what your parents relationship was like and how that compares. It' s a process, so don't think you'd be safe by choosing another man.

actually the women have colonised the relationship in such a way that they don't actually want to have anything out of their control or purview. This is often inherited from a mother who was frustrated with the marriage she ended up in.*

any clues how to break this cycle ?

Dahlen Fri 01-Feb-13 10:54:57

I''m quite interested in that statement, too, lemontree. It resonates quite strongly with me regarding my marriage. However, having mulled it over in my head since reading it yesterday, I'm not sure it's actually that true. What about the man in all this?

My XH was a lovely man and still is AFAIA. But when we got together he quite deliberately presented himself as the strong, capable and in control type. Once we were married, he slowly abdicated responsibility for things until I took over doing everything. That fits the process described, except that I didn't push for domination or actually desire the control - in fact I quite resented having to assume the mantle and ended up feeling more like his mother than his partner. Doesn't that make him lazy rather than me domineering?

Dahlen Fri 01-Feb-13 10:55:20

FWIW, my parents had a very happy, long marriage not that dissimilar to pausingforbreath's parents.

DreamingofSummer Fri 01-Feb-13 11:03:56

Been married for 32 years and can't imagine not being married. Occasionally blissful, very occasionally stormy, but usually calm and contented.

ConfusedishSay Fri 01-Feb-13 12:44:02

Do any of you think that perhaps some people are more suited to longterm commitment than others?
ie. Some women have one or two incredibly close best friends for life or at least long periods of time whereas others, like me, are more the gregarious type with lots of good friends but never really a "best friend" ? Maybe I´m just not good at sticking to one person sad -either as a friend or a partner. I don´t know if that means there is something wrong with me that needs to get sorted out or if it´s just the way I may be and to accept that I´m not going to ever want the his and hers rocking chairs on the porch during my "Golden Years"!
Any of you wise people have any thoughts on that?

WhoremoaneeGrainger Fri 01-Feb-13 12:45:48

Been married 19 years and 3 days. And yes i still love him. My best friend asked me once how i knew i still loved him, and my reply was that i cant imagine my life without him.. The thought of him not being here, for whatever reason, makes me cry. I cant bear to think of him not being in my life. I love him so very much.

We have had some terrible times over our marriage, the loss of 3 parents, two redundancies, being told we would never have children ( they got that one wrong, we do have a beautiful DD). We have both become registered disabled too - we were both extremely fit and active when we got together 21 years ago, i am now riddled with arthritis, and have spinal problems, he has problems with his legs, and has two large ulcers, and a destroyed lymphatic system in his legs. We have both gained shed loads of weight. We havent had proper sex since 2006, but we still enjoy each other sexually iyswim. But that loving bond is still as strong as ever. He makes me feel beautiful, and loved, and safe, and i know i do the same for him.

Dont get me wrong, there are times when i could cheerfully (at that moment) walk out the door, but i dont. I would miss him too much.

I am sure, that with a lot of honesty and openness you will get through this, and if your relationship is over, you will find the strength to end it.

Springdiva Fri 01-Feb-13 12:55:45

What seems to be missing from many posts is what the DH says/thinks about the marriage/ marriage problems, whether OP or other posters.

Trying to talk about emotions with my DH is like trying to get blood out of a stone. But, if we DO manage a conversation I usually find he is seeing things quite differently to me, neither of us need be wrong, just differing views.

Some conversation if possible might be a start (not specifically to sort problems but for OP to decide what she wants).

BiddyPop Fri 01-Feb-13 13:01:46

I am with DH for 17 years, married 13. This past year has been very stressful for a few different reasons (DD SN dx, DH working abroad almost 50%, my work v v full-on, family bereavements etc). So not the happiest time for us at the mo.

However, I would still say that we are happily married. We still communicate well (even if transcontinental comms can be difficult). We are still very physically affectionate (cuddles and little touches) when in the same place. We look out for each other and while occasionally we are both stressed at the same time, we both try our best to keep things evenly balanced for the other. And we do still make time for ourselves as a couple, as well as sorting all the other parts of our lives as a family (immediate and extended).

I am hoping that the stresses are reducing, but I know there is at least 1 more bereavement likely this year and other things will continue for some time yet.

But overall, I do think we are still happily married. (In our wedding booklet, we had the words "Today I marry my best friend, the one I laugh with, live for and love" - they were the truth then and I think they still hold true today. We both have very good friends, but we both rely on each other as our rock for stability.)

gonetobed Fri 01-Feb-13 13:27:58

Another one in the same boat here. Very interesting reading this through.

But advice please - HOW do you forget about the 'flirtation' guy and become interested in your DH again?

ConfusedishSay Fri 01-Feb-13 13:43:16

Hi Springdiva Well, my DH thought everything was fine and was just coasting along till he discovered that I was texting Mr Flirtation and was devastated. It was a huge wake up call for both of us. My behaviour surprised myself just as much as it surprised him I think!
He believes in marriage and wants to grow old together. I think he´s also TERRIFIED of the idea of being alone or starting all over again with somebody else.
He handled it a lot better than I´d expected and after a whole lot of soul-searching, realised he too was disatisfied with the relationship but the difference is that he still loves me and is very attracted to me still. Only wish it were that simple for me.

ConfusedishSay Fri 01-Feb-13 13:44:32

Ditto, gonetobed !

gonetobed Fri 01-Feb-13 13:58:43

confused - I so relate to your posts. For me, ive been in the very normal but boring marriage for many years, and having anything to do with someone else is just so not me! Likewise it just happened really without me looking and very innocently.

My world has been completely turned upside down over the last few months. As well as very exciting and fun its been complete hell! Having said that its the best diet I have ever been on!

ScarboroughFayre Fri 01-Feb-13 14:23:51

confused I have just found this thread and could weep with gratitude that someone else has posted about exactly what I'm feeling. DH and I have been together 13 years and married for 8, have 2 DCs and a lovely life but I just don't fancy him any more and can just about rouse myself to have sex once a month by, like you say, keeping my eyes closed and fantasising my way through it. It makes me feel awful just admitting it, but its reassuring to see so many others feeling the same way. Has anyone found that magic wand yet? wink
I have never told my DH how I feel as I am sure he would be devastated. That comment / quote unthread about losing respect and following the pattern of your parents' relationship really struck a chord with me though - my mother has said for years about my father that she is really not interested in him in that way but that she will put out (my phrase not hers!) for special occasions like holidays and birthdays, as a kind of favour to him, and horrifyingly that's exactly the situation I find myself in. It's as if DH is a kind of lovely friend / co-parent / family member but I just can't find him sexy in any way, as if it would be incestuous.
I wish I had an answer. I wish someone on here did! I may order that Esther Perel book and see if it helps. I have to do something thou because like you I don't think my marriage is going to just jog along let alone thrive for the next 40 years if I don't address the fact that something has been lost.
Thank you for starting this thread, I hope it helps you because just seeing all of these replies and realising I'm not alone has really helped me already.

TeeBee Fri 01-Feb-13 14:40:37

Yes, thank you confused. Same here for me - almost word for word. I've just booked a counsellor - something I've been putting off for years. The way you phrased everything will help me to voice exactly what I have been struggling with. Hell, I might just print of your thread and and it to the counsellor!! Sorry, I have no answers to help you - maybe I'll post if anything does clearer at counselling.

ConfusedishSay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:40:58

Thanks to you too for posting, Scarborough Going back to a previous post of mine....do you wonder if it may just be that you are a person who will always end up like this after the 1st exciting years wear off. Nothing to do with the actual guy, just that you aren´t a person who can be with somebody forever and ever, death do you part, etc?
I´m just throwing this idea around...not necessarily that I believe it or anything...but I wonder if the ideals and expectations that society puts on us may not be suited to 100% of the population. ??? hmm
What do you think, gonetobed and others who feel this way?

ConfusedishSay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:43:26

Hey, TeeBee ...everyone´s crawling out of the woodwork now!! Thanks. Please do report back with any astounding breakthroughs you may encounter along the way smile Think there´s a bunch of us who need a lot of help here!

gonetobed Fri 01-Feb-13 14:47:32

For me its a defininate hitting 40 thing soon and kids growing older and thinking - I just have nothing in common with man anymore! I always wanted us to grow old together I just cant see it happening now. Not unless I spend the rest of my life being completely miserable. Its like now or never time to change my life

ScarboroughFayre Fri 01-Feb-13 14:54:05

Confused, I do wonder that, I have had a history of 'going off' friends in the past and maybe I just need excitement to keep me interested.,. That makes me sound very shallow doesn't it?!
I've ordered the Esther Perel book, and its arrival might give me an opportunity to talk to DH about the situation, although I think I will be talking about my lack of libido, not that I find it hard to fancy him any more.
I think there is a lot in what someone wise ^^ up there said about fnding your partner less attractive when you share every part of your life with them and that life is mainly about domestic drudge, childcare and watching TV. We both definitely need to shake things up a bit, our DC are still young but we must make an effort to go out together and do adult stuff so that we have more to talk about than Top Gear hmm
Got to go and do school run but will be back, I feel like I have finally found a support group!! Thank you!!

VanderElsken Fri 01-Feb-13 15:21:36

This is such a common thing and it's becoming more and more common since women entered the workforce. Respect for women in a relationship can be what physical attraction is for a man, without is sex dries up.

The only thing I was pointing out is that melding together completely as a couple dissipates eroticism, uncertainty and that sense of 'other' that creates excitement. Communication can begin to take a form that slides towards contempt rather than honesty. If you find yourself saying 'You ALWAYS say this" or "For god's sake, why can't you ever.." you're beginning to talk to your partner in a way you wouldn't even to a colleague you have no affection for.

Often when a couple finds a huge problem (like an affair) comes up they communicate really honestly for the first time in a long time and respect comes back for a little while and so attraction.

And also frequently the blame for a lack of respect goes on the man (lazy, shiftless) in a couple when it takes two to tango and if you find yourself seething, waiting silently for him to 'do' something you wish he would do, then find he doesn't, then judge him for it and do it yourself, resentfully, thinking 'I have to do everything' that sort of passive-aggression is a way of continuing a cycle of lack of respect for your partner and maintaining control.

Of course sometimes in a relationship someone is just a bit of a weight dragging the other down, and there are definitely men out there who command much more respect and have huge amounts to offer, so sometimes it's right to leave a relationship that has this dynamic. But truthfully, men like that bring their own difficulties and can be distant or not as fun or even unfaithful, so you pick your flaws!

The issue of life partners is a knotty one, Confused, but it's not something you need to take refuge in, it's so general. For all time people have swapped partners, mated for life, been unfaithful, monogamy or love is a timeless clusterfuck. The real question is. is HE the right man for you. Did you marry the wrong person. Stop thinking about 50 years and think 5 years.

Most of the time:
Can you have fun?
Do you feel safe?
Do you respect him?
Can you be physically attracted to him?
Do you find him mostly easy to be around?

If there's a resounding no there, deep in you, and even by addressing it openly and effortfully it doesn't go away, you should feel content that you would be happier if you left.

Charbon Fri 01-Feb-13 15:52:46

I think what VE has said about individuality is especially relevant and in this respect, I agree with Esther Perel. However what I don't agree with are Esther Perel's ethics about bringing flirtations and emotional affairs into the picture to revitalise a complacent and stale marriage, because that is an unethical use of other people and fails to consider their feelings too. I also found her grasp of sexual politics frustrating - and I think these have huge relevance to this thread. So read with caution. I might be back with more thoughts later, as this is an absorbing thread for anyone with an interest in male-female relationships.

VanderElsken Fri 01-Feb-13 16:01:49

Yes, i'm painting with very broad strokes here and any sentence that starts with 'men can be like this' or 'women do this' is obviously flawed or personal view.

Infidelity always becomes a nightmare for everyone i think, as i said up the thread. I just think perel's rather french perspective and challenge to what lust really is can be enlightening to those who find themselves so bound to partners they grow to resent or tire of.

thesnootyfox Fri 01-Feb-13 16:32:44

If dh asked me to marry him today (have been married for 17 years this year) the answer would be no I am afraid. He wouldn't want to marry me either.

Dahlen Fri 01-Feb-13 16:46:23

Charbon, I'm glad you posted that as you've hit the nail on the head as to what I find troublesome with VE's otherwise excellent posts.

This bit: And also frequently the blame for a lack of respect goes on the man (lazy, shiftless) in a couple when it takes two to tango and if you find yourself seething, waiting silently for him to 'do' something you wish he would do, then find he doesn't, then judge him for it and do it yourself, resentfully, thinking 'I have to do everything' that sort of passive-aggression is a way of continuing a cycle of lack of respect for your partner and maintaining control. makes perfect sense until you think about gender politics.

It completely fails to take into account the question of why should a woman (though it can be reversed of course) have to take responsibility for reminding/telling her DH to pull his weight around the house so that she doesn't end up feeling 'I have to do everything'. One telling should be enough, but in many seemingly 'two to tango' couples in therapy it often turns out that arguing over housework is a common theme. So basically, the woman is saying what she wants but is ignored. Resorting to resentful martyrdom is often the only course of action left to a woman who doesn't want to row constantly about it or actually leave.

Charbon Fri 01-Feb-13 17:52:12

Agreed Dahlen AND VE and FWIW I think both of you are pretty inspirational posters!

What struck me when reading through this thread today was how sexual politics are always relevant in couple-fit and especially in the process of remaining happy and fulfilled in a heterosexual monogamous relationship.

I was interested that the posters expressing most difficulty feeling desire for their partners seem to have very narrow definitions of male and female roles in relationships - and quite old-fashioned expectations about men's sexual behaviour. For example, Confused you mentioned your beliefs about 'men's needs' to have sex and seem to assume that as long as sex happens, you are meeting your partner's needs.

Whereas many men will confide that the act of sex itself is not the primary need; rather it's the need to feel desired and respected by their partners. Just having sex therefore wouldn't meet those men's needs at all - and men are not stupid. Just like women they can sense when a woman is having sex with them just for the sex itself.

Conversely, there is a common dynamic in many male-female relationships of the woman infantilising the man in response to his extremely manipulative attempts to avoid domestic work and childcare through learned cluelessness borne out of sheer laziness and a belief that the work is in the female domain. This leads to a mother-child dynamic which is the enemy of sexual attraction.

In relationships like these, I've noticed that the infidelity crisis can strike in either partner and sometimes both. The choice of OW/OM is also interesting. Often the OM is idealised as being decisive, sexually powerful and 'masterful' instead of a less lust-fuelled assessment of being arrogant, objectifying and controlling. And the OW is idealised as being adoring, sexually responsive and respectful, instead of the more honest judgement that she is compliant, submissive and manipulative.

While a crisis of loss often recalibrates the views a couple has of eachother and causes them to re-define roles and expectations, it is always better to either work on this within the relationship, introducing honest and heartfelt communication - or to part and re-evaluate. An infidelity crisis will often have the same effect - as long as there is honesty, truth and no secrets held. But it is an enormously high price to pay in terms of damage caused to a couple and third parties, so is best avoided at all costs.

I'd really recommend challenging some long-held beliefs about what men/women want and need in relationships and how much that has been defined by the patriarchical constructs we have all been socialised to accept.

ScarboroughFayre Fri 01-Feb-13 18:18:35

This is all so horribly true. But how do I tell my DH "darling the reason I can't bring myself to fancy you is the fact that when I ask you to put the bins out you roll your eyes like a teenager and I feel like a nagging mother?" sad

BlueSkybytheSea Fri 01-Feb-13 18:47:45

Another one here sadly reading with much interest as in very much the same position. Would love to say more but not got enough time right now as if I start I could go on forever! Will come back though. So much interesting advice and thoughts.
With regards to being sexually attracted to your DH I do beleive its impossible to compare DH's with an exciting, sexually charged, un-consumated flirtation, but yeas, very difficult to move forwards once you have experienced just that. I am working on trying to see that side of things with DH as an expression of love for him and opening up the love between us again rather than shutting him out as I do still love him so much and would so love to see us in a better place. Just something I'm trying.
Will keep reading and be back next week.

ScarboroughFayre Fri 01-Feb-13 19:05:59

Bluesky I'm the same, I do love my DH very much and looking at Charbon's list, yes most of the time I do have fun with him, like him, respect him and always feel safe with hi. It's just that its turned from sexual attraction to feeling like he's family, and so non-sexual. When I think about it the rot started to set in literally as soon as we moved in together 11 years ago - going from being equal partners each with our own place and own lives, to being co-habitant partners. It was made worse by the fact that on the day that we moved on, he was involved in an accident and so I had to look after him, instead of us shagging all over the shop and 'christening' our new place I became a nurse maid. He was fine within a few weeks but I think that set a horrible precedent that has just got worse and worse since having children.
It's very interesting about the feminist slant on this and the way that our gender roles play a part, I think it is very relevant. I know that I need to get back to work for my own sanity and self esteem (currently SAHM) and that how I feel about myself will have a part to pay in this. But I clearly need to talk to him about his role and me needing to respect him more, and how for that to happen I need to NOT feel like his mother. Hmm. Not sure how to go about that conversation without it turning into a row / tears.
Again, all advice gratefully received!

ScarboroughFayre Fri 01-Feb-13 19:06:31

Aargh so many typos sorry!

About eight years ago I felt like you, OP.

Met someone else. Shocked me to my core. Nothing happened, only knew him for three days, but I knew I couldn't carry on as things were.

Begged husband for counselling, had therapy. Was on beta blockers.

Nothing improved, ate my heart out for a few more years, met another 'someone else'.

We separated. Am now with the second 'someone else' and very happy. I now have what was missing.

But, as someone up thread said, I wish I'd done it sooner. A lot of hurt, a lot of wasted time.

CheerfulYank Fri 01-Feb-13 20:17:01

I got engaged at a fairly young age for these days (think I was 22) but I was pretty clear-headed about it all.

I knew it required sacrifice but decided it was worth it. It still is. smile I knew I would miss the excitement of meeting new men, "does he fancy me, is he going to kiss me", that sort of thing. And sometimes I do. But I just really wanted a strong unit, a partner to lean on and make a life with, and I knew what I had to give up to have it.

I love DH. He's a great dad, he makes me laugh, I'm interested in the things he has to say. I don't shiver when he touches my neck anymore, but I still like him enough to have sex with every few days. smile

We have a life together, a house, children, in laws, etc. Sure, I miss the excitement sometimes, but I'm not willing to devastate my best friend and give up everything I have for it.

amamini Fri 01-Feb-13 20:51:32

'sometimes we need to step back at how much we have and appreciate it. It is far too easy to allow yourself to be dissatisfied, but the alternative is not much fun. Marriage can be tedious but Divorce is hell'

Just reading other threads in the last few days for the first time, that show so brutally how womans and childrens lives are devastated by relationships breaking down, due so often it seems by selfishness and boredom. Perhaps these might answer questions of whether to stay or go?

Go if you're in a hateful violent unheathly life threatening marriage, but so often that is not what it is about.

I had been with my partner/husband for 28 years, and he walked away without any discussions.

I believe what may have felt important enough for people not to stay or to work at, very soon after a few years become shallow and unimportant. Many men think, new wife new life..but ultimately if one is not happy with ones self, that brick wall of dissatisfation will come back again, but one may well have lost, never to be replaced time with children, true relationships with partners family and friends..not to mention careers, homes and money...in the end only Lawyers are the winners in so many broken marriages...as Society picks up the tab.

Charbon Fri 01-Feb-13 21:18:06

"But how do I tell my DH "darling the reason I can't bring myself to fancy you is the fact that when I ask you to put the bins out you roll your eyes like a teenager and I feel like a nagging mother?"

You tell him by being honest, with some tact thrown in. Most men would understand that the mothering role is not one that is sexualised and that a woman who is performing that role in her romantic relationship is unlikely to feel sexual attraction and desire for her partner. Although I'm saying that many men would understand the logic of that, I've often noticed it's been a lightbulb moment of revelation when their partner explains this to them. In the same way as I've noticed similar jaw-dropping moments when men have confided that they know when their partners are fantasising during sex or faking sexual desire - and how being treated with disrespect or contempt has killed their own desire for intimacy and involvement, if not sex itself.

Kione Fri 01-Feb-13 21:20:09

I feel exactly like you OP, I cant write much now, but marking my spot. All I can add is that I am trying my best to rekindle everything, but it is just not easy sad

Charbon Fri 01-Feb-13 21:31:01

Something else I've noticed as a link is how an affair of any kind or an infatuation with someone else, renders the familiar partner to be sexually undesirable and unattractive. It is almost impossible to recapture sexual desire for someone who has been cuckolded, without some honesty about the secret relationship. Again, there are differences noted here according to how men and women are socialised about sex. So whereas a man might find no difficulty retaining desire for his partner after his affair has been discovered, a woman found out in an affair will often respond very differently.

leadinglady Fri 01-Feb-13 23:22:02

My soon to be X and I were best friends, and I wonder if that is part of the problem, we saw each other as friends first not lovers.

PConfused

leadinglady Fri 01-Feb-13 23:30:03

Sorry tying to use bold and accidentally posted the above message.

Confused I would say that yes some people are not cut out for long term relationships but on the other hand, and being the internal optimistic romantic I think when you find the 'one' every thing fits and being together forever wont seem long enough.

I hope you are able to work out what you want. I think once you do you will feel so much better. As soon as I told DP aI wanted to move out I immediately felt relief, physically lighter.

Springdiva Sat 02-Feb-13 03:22:31

Well, it seems that you are clearly discussing things fully with your DH, OP.

I think there is a risk of a mid-life crisis thing, when you realise that the 'fun' and 'exciting' part of life has passed, when you had no major financial respsonsibilities and might/might not meet the partner of your dreams, and there is a long slog until DCs are off your hands and you might have more time for yourself - and looking forward you would probably consider yourself past it as far a thrills and excitement are concerned by then (though that isn't the case in real life imo).

And is finding the love of your life, your soulmate, THE thing everyone should be aiming for, to have a happy and fulfilled life?
Can't changes be made to the life you have with the existing partner to make it more fulfilling?
It would seem not according to the many posters who say they have left their DH for someone they are now happy with, having had something missing in the previous relationship.
It just seems unlikely to me that finding THE one is the answer to all our dreams!
Not disagreeing with those who left someone to move onto a 'perfect' partner, more wondering how when we are all so different that that could be the answer for everyone.

ConfusedishSay Sat 02-Feb-13 13:20:25

I´m in captivity! Will pop back when I can. Great posts....thanks all
xx

ConfusedishSay Sat 02-Feb-13 15:18:23

Back again...Charbon that´s interesting about post-flirtation/affair, one´s partner is less appealling. I think in my case, I had thought it was that I had just lost interest and was not a very sexual person. When that side of me was reawakened, it made me realise that it is still very much there but that the dynamic that exists in my marriage is not encouraging it. It also made me realise that I wanted that feeling again and that I am "missing out" by just ignoring it and assuming it can´t happen again. The problem is just how to make one´s self feel that way about somebody who has not been attractive for a very long time.
Leadinglady I don´t believe in "the One" in as far as there is that one person destined to be my soulmate. However I do really sometimes hanker after a deeper connection that has never really existed between my DH and me. Of course there is very little guarantee that, if I were single again, I would meet anyone vaguely interesting that I would connect with, so it´s all a bit of a gamble to take that leap into the unknown!
My sensible side tells me to stick with "The Devil I know"......but I could be wasting my life too....gah! So hard all of this!
So...*Springdiva*, my thoughts at present are to really try and sort myself out and become as happy and fulfilled in all ways possible in and outside of the relationship so as to work out whether I really need to go in search of new and exciting adventures and leave the marriage or whether I can bring some spark back by being happier as a whole. Does that make sense?
Phew! Is it too early for wine? wink

thegreylady Sat 02-Feb-13 16:19:27

I am very very happily married after 25 years and would never wish to be with anyone else.

Charbon Sat 02-Feb-13 16:28:50

Confused it's extremely likely your husband is feeling the same way and is just as vulnerable as you to the attentions of someone else. I've just written a post on another thread about this, but in essence when people have stopped viewing themselves as a sexual being, they are extremely vunerable to the attentions of someone else who induces those sensations again, but about oneself.

So it's not because the other person was so great, wonderful or better than a sanctioned partner. The person is merely a vehicle through which you have a love affair with that side of yourself again, that might have been buried or long forgotten. Equally, your husband has probably locked away that side of himself where he regards himself as a desirable, sexual being who is intensely desired and valued by his sexual partner.

If you asked your husband whether he still fancied you and was happy in your marriage, I've no doubt he'd say 'yes' and mean it. If you ask him whether he feels he's an attractive, desirable man who's capable of inspiring lust and intense attraction in another person (including you) his truthful answer might be different.

So you're both vulnerable, although most people in reasonably content relationships don't know how much until something happens and reawakens their sexual selves.

ConfusedishSay Sat 02-Feb-13 17:59:48

You are probably right there, charbon . It did cross my mind that the reason I enjoyed the attentions of another man was because it allowed ME to be the fun, carefree, sexy person I wished to be... Not so much that HE was all that!

ConfusedishSay Sat 02-Feb-13 18:05:00

And I don't doubt that if another woman came along and showered adoration on my DH, he would not be quite so adamant that he would never ever in a million years want someone else! I think I AM able to see things with at least an ounce of objectivity! However.... Not helping me actually WANTING him any more. Not sure one's heart and sexual feelings are things one can jump start through rationalizing though, unfortunately sad

ConfusedishSay Sat 02-Feb-13 18:44:17

Sorry, charbon that came across like I was saying that YOU were not helping me much! On the contrary, I appreciate your input very much... I just meant that my ability to see things fairly rationally is not helping me at this moment!

Charbon Sat 02-Feb-13 22:33:20

One of the things that Esther Perel mentions I think (as have other relationship 'commentators') is that safety and security are often the enemy of eroticism. This is especially so for people who, when forming early sexual relationships learnt to associate sex with something that was naughty, hidden from view and kept a delicious secret. For example, women who had early illicit relationships with teachers or older possibly married partners have often found that this has cast a shadow over mature relationships. So, when they get into relationships that are safe havens and the danger isn't present, the eroticism vanishes.

This is one of the reasons behind the 'hysterical bonding' phenomenon after an affair is dicovered. The threat to safety posed by an affair kickstarts the eroticism again.

How would you feel about having a truly honest, no-holds-barred chat with your husband about your feelings. Give him permission to be honest about his own erotic needs and talk to him about your near-miss with the OM.

It occurs that as the danger is currently silent and seething, it could be more productive if it were brought into the open.

If you think about it, not telling your partner about the OM and your lack of physical chemistry is not just because you don't want to hurt him. It's also because of your own safety and security and not wanting those things taken away before you yourself are willing to surrender them. I think you need to have a dangerous conversation.

ConfusedishSay Sun 03-Feb-13 10:10:10

That´s a very interesting idea. I think you are right- it´s probably all too safe and familiar.
It is a big worry though that if I am brutally honest it could be potentially devastating to his self-esteem and cause a whole bunch of new issues that he might never fully recover from.
I don´t want to jeopardise his future sex life whether with me or with someone else eventually- it would be a horrible blow

Springdiva Sun 03-Feb-13 10:55:31

I think you said that you had to fantasise during sex to get any thrill from it.

I do this and thought it was normal.

DH and I are getting on a bit, flabby (me), bald (him), do long-term marrieds really lust after their wrinkly ageing partners? I lust because that is who I have sex with but wouldn't stick a poster of him on the wall (as he is now)and have erotic fantasies about him.

stuckintime Sun 03-Feb-13 11:13:23

Confused - you could be me. Watching the replies to this thread with interest. Me and DP have been together 10 years, one DS, 3. Nothing at all is wrong with him or the relationship (on the surface). We get on well, cooperate, have a laugh.

Sex has diminished to once per month ever since DS was born and lately I've been struggling even with that.

I've had the odd crush ever since we've been together but have never acted on it and they've always fizzled out and away leaving me glad that I didn't act and glad to be with DP. A few months ago though I saw and spoke to an old friend at a party (DP was there as well). 20 years ago me and this friend nearly got together but didn't because I was seeing someone else and thought I owed it to him to see where it went. The relationship broke up after 5 years and by this time this guy was with someone with a baby on the way. He now has two teenage DCs. I've always wondered if I did the right thing but kind of accepted that's the way it was. Met DP and got on with life.

We've seen each other here and there over the years and there's always been "something" but tbh, I thought he didn't like me and was offended by me choosing someone else over him 20 years ago. At this party though it was pretty clear he and me were both still attracted.

ANYWAY, since then I've been crushing like mad and it is having a detrimental affect on my relationship with DP, which I feel awful about.

Before this even happened I had told DP I was unhappy - mainly because I commute and work 4 days a week and do childcare the rest of the time and he has a much easier life - working freelance here and there and having days to himself when DS is at the childminder. I felt I was always stressed and busy whereas he was coasting. Although he does contribute to childcare and housework so I haven't got that much to complain about - apart from being constantly tired!

I also felt that the necessary respect wasn't there. I have a lot of respect for the old friend.

Sorry, bit of a vent but I'm really feeling this myself at the moment. Thinking that perhaps I should come clean with DP about the crush but wouldn't want to reveal who it was as they do know each other and it would make things very awkward.

:-(

Springdiva Sun 03-Feb-13 14:19:10

I don't think telling DP you are constantly tired helps. Telling DP that he must see to DCs every Saturday because you are taking up mountain climbing/ tennis / a foreign language or whatever takes your fancy sounds a better idea.

Leaving DP so that you can spend your days in supposed sexual bliss with new DP, plus his DTs, plus part share of your DCs, plus your pt job sounds fanciful and unlikely to me.

If you are resentful of DP's life then seems likely there will be little respect for him. Isn't it within your power to change the way things are so you aren't resentful.

You want DP to change into something, you're not sure what. Better that you make the changes to your life yourself to improve it, and then see if a new DP is what you want instead of taking the easy way out expecting some new DP to transform it to bliss.

Springdiva Sun 03-Feb-13 14:20:58

reply above was to stuckintime

stuckintime Sun 03-Feb-13 17:01:11

<Isn't it within your power to change the way things are so you aren't resentful.>

Not sure to be honest. I do what I can to have my own life and to a certain extent it works. I have my own interests and friends. Perhaps I could do more.

I'm not thinking of leaving for someone else, at all. I'm not even sure I want a new DP.

To be frank, I'm not sure of anything.

twoboyslater Sun 03-Feb-13 22:04:55

Not married yet but engaged for a while. And not one day goes past where I don't think how lucky I am to have such a wonderful, supportive, loving fiancé smile He is the best father that I could have ever wished for my children to have, and every day that I spend with him will just be another day that I am in love with him. Sure, we have our tiffs like everybody else, but there is never a second where I don't love him.

Bloody pregnancy hormones.

ScarboroughFayre Mon 04-Feb-13 10:27:36

Morning all! I hope everyone had a good weekend - I couldn't get to the computer to post but was thinking about this a lot and doing my best to focus on DH's good points.

Stuckintime I know how you feel, I don't want anyone else, I don't want another DH, I don't ever want to be apart from DH I just wish I could feel excited and lustful towards him again, and that's what I don't know how to change. But I did make a real effort this weekend to consciously view him with new eyes, and to make sure that my communication towards him was respectful and considerate, and his behaviour changed accordingly too.

On Sat eve (after quite a few wine wine) I did have a bit of a try at talking to him more directly about the whole "I can't fancy you if I feel like your mother" thing. Should have done it sober but there you go. It didn't go brilliantly but it did start the conversation - interestingly he had NO IDEA what the hell I was on about, and said he didn't think there was anything wrong in our marriage either. I would have thought he'd have jumped at the chance to have a conversation about things that would make me more likely to want sex but he didn't seem remotely bothered, which was a real surprise to me. Maybe I worry about things that are actually fine. Maybe he is quite happy with the way things are and I should just be grateful that he doesn't mind me not wanting sex?! I have been known to over-think things.

Two things that I did find helpful, however, were a) not calling him 'Daddy' when the children were around, instead using his name - the whole Freudian thing of calling him 'Daddy' reinforces the fact in my mind that he is family and therefore sex would be incest. I must remember to use his name! And b) being more assertive, straightforward and clear when asking for help, so that I didn't feel like a nagging mother. Instead of "someone needs to put the bins out" with rolling eyes I said things along the lines of "darling, I'm going to put the washing out, could you please empty the bins while I do that?", which felt much more 'equal'. It really helped - much less resentment and therefore contempt / lack of respect on my part.

But most importantly since coming on this thread and thinking deeply about the whole familiarity / contempt vs excitement / respect thing, I have turned a corner in my mind. I do want things to work and while I can't change his behaviour, I can change my own, and see how things respond to that. I already feel more positive, which is a start. I also had a rather fruity dream blush on Friday night which is presumably my subconscious responding to all of this and saying "come on girl, you've still got it in you, we just need to find it and give it a jump start!" grin

fluffyraggies Mon 04-Feb-13 11:43:34

Fantasising (about someone else) in order to enjoy sex. Can we touch on this a bit more? How many of us do it/did it?

With my XH, who was my first long term partner ( late teens ), i used to fantasise each and every time we had sex. Right from the very first time until the very last. We were together 15 years. I wouldn't say it was a good sign. I'm guessing it's not 'normal'. It was my guilty secret.

Now i'm older and wiser and re-married (to someone with whom i do not have to fantasise) i see it now as an obvious sign that things were wrong. Glaring really.

I would frankly be devastated if i found out that DH fantasises while having sex with me, in the way i had to with XH.

Just interested OP, how long have you been fantasising to get by?

Springdiva Mon 04-Feb-13 15:29:09

I would frankly be devastated if i found out that DH fantasises while having sex with me

Hmm, interesting. I'd assumed most people did it.

Though I probably didn't do it when younger. We are in our sixties now, perhaps the urges aren't as strong and a bit of fantasy spices things up. We are also very reserved and don't swing from the lampshades so perhaps that makes a difference too.

fluffyraggies Mon 04-Feb-13 15:58:03

Just to be clear spring, i meant fantasising that it's someone else you're having sex with.

Honestly i would be v. sad

Swinging from lampshades or not wink

OatcakeCravings Mon 04-Feb-13 17:33:55

Married for 15 years with small children. I'm not happy but not unhappy either. I am bored and I am irritated with my H a lot. We have nothing in common anymore which I think is one of the main problems.

katb1973 Mon 04-Feb-13 21:17:22

I had a friend in a similar situation, married for 6 yrs, 1 dc etc. she met someone else and confided in me that she hadn't known what love was until she met him. She acted quickly, they sold their house and shared their child and she moved in with the love of her life..........6 years later she's back with her first husband has had another child and openly admits that the grass was definitely not greener....so happy he took her back. Food for thought.......it may not be perfect, but nothing ever is.

ConfusedishSay Mon 04-Feb-13 21:52:14

Actually, Fluffyraggies that´s a good idea.....anyone else on here care to contribute or shall we start a new thread??!
In answer, basically since my sex drive started to go downhill once the initial enfatuation phase was over....probably about 3 yrs in to the relationship tbh. I had found myself doing this with a previous longterm boyfriend as I also lost interest after the 1st 18m or so with HIM and was thinking initially with hubby: "Oooo, how great, this guy must be Mr Right, as I no longer have to fantasise"....but then mundanity set in. This is why I´m thinking it´s ME not necessarily him at all. I think maybe I´d get bored and lose my libido with ANYONE given sufficient time sad
It DOES give me hope, springdiva that there seem to be plenty on here who still have the hots for their partners...how nice that must be! envy
Until this OM was around, I´d hardly EVER fantasised about anyone real or concrete....just made up people and scenarios in my head that turned me on. Some innocent and romantic, others a little ...erm....shocking...blush
OK....somebody else´s turn to spill now...

ConfusedishSay Mon 04-Feb-13 22:00:56

Oh and stuckintime ...sadly I´m getting deja vu with what you wrote about your husband´s reaction to your admitting your feelings. I tried to get my DH to wake up and realise our relationship was unfulfilling and in the doldrums a good 5 or so years ago....back when I still had the energy to care and try and do something about it.
He too just seemed very surprised, stated that he thought everything was fine and I´m fairly sure thought I was probably just being hormonal.
And my reaction was just like yours.....I felt I must be making too much of it and it was all fine......without realising it, I slowly gave up and built a hard emotional shell around myself year after year since. I didn´t fight to make him realise how serious it was because I thought that he must be right and that this was as good as I could expect in a longterm relationship!
Fast forward 5 yrs and I almost embarked on an affair!
Oh and NOW my DH is in crisis mode and is taking me EXTREMELY seriously!! Pity though that this happens so often by all accounts! How do you shake/wake a man up BEFORE it gets to the danger zone? Ho hum hmm

ConfusedishSay Mon 04-Feb-13 22:06:50

Eek...sorry, oops....the above was meant to be addressed to scarborough re her "coming clean" discussion...and not even post wine...so no excuse!
Thanks though, stuckintime...a lot of us in the same canoe!

BigSpork Mon 04-Feb-13 23:35:25

I've been married for almost 10 years and I'm quite happy, more happy now really (and fantasise more about him now than ever).

Relationships tend to go through waves of drifting apart and drifting closer as long as people actively work on it, I find, but from what you've written, you've drifted apart and he's not put any effort in to bring you back together for some reason. Relationships cannot survive let alone thrive on inertia.

For us, finding hobbies we could enjoy doing together again and working on together again was the key to overcoming the comfort doldrums pulling us in different ways. Also setting goals for myself (and asking him his goals) and finding ways we could help each other has brought us together.

Is it just your relationship you're unhappy with? When I have my crisis-es it tends to be a lot of different things at once that I need to fix. We need a crisis area to help each other build ourselves back up again as things so easily pull us down and in every direction until it gets to this crunch point.

littlecrystal Tue 05-Feb-13 10:19:54

I am happy in my marriage. A big part of it is played by the fact that I am a loner and I am happy just to be with myself, and as long as DH does not interfere with my space too much or takes a load of DC responsibilities from me, I am happy to be with him. We are both independent, quiet and non-intrusive, so our marriage works. Although I do wonder often that I would like to be close-nit and do everything together, but then I am not sure if this would work.

I don’t believe in soulmates. I don’t trust anyone 100% but myself. How many stories here on MN saying “my lovely DH cheated” etc. There is no marriage without ups and downs. That’s just life.

nokidshere Tue 05-Feb-13 10:53:02

We have been married for 26 years and together for 31 years.

Its better now in a lot of ways. A calm, comfortable love and mutual respect that comes, not only with longevity, but with age. Of course many, many years of fertility treatments, being parents when we were older and other pressures have served to make sure that our lives haven't been dull. And the rows we had when we were younger were something to behold. And sex (for us anyway) has just got better and better over the years.

I think the secret of longevity is peace. If you have a deep feeling of contentment and a truly shared partnership you will want to put your efforts into your relationship. If you find you are longing for more and "looking around" for excitement you need to decide if you want to find those things within your existing relationship or on your own.

Is the fact that you aren['t attracted to your husband anymore down to the MLC feeling or is the MLC feeling because you aren't attracted to him? Either way you need to sit down and talk to your husband because unless you tell him how you are feeling he cant do anything to change it or help.

nokidshere Tue 05-Feb-13 10:56:09

sorry I dont know how I missed all the pages inbetween page 1 and the end - I thought I was posting quite soon after the OP lol and obviously there have been lots of xposts since then - apologies lol

ConfusedishSay Thu 07-Feb-13 11:59:37

Thanks for the last few comments too...wise words from everyone really and it is really heartening to hear how many people still have warm and fuzzy feelings towards their spouses!
Deep down, I feel kind of pessimistic for the future of the relationship (wish I didnt and I´m trying to fight that!) but I know I have to have tried everything I possibly can before I can end things and know it is the right thing to do.

I definitely am. Sounds twee but my DH is my best friend, the one I turn to when I feel blue for cheering up, the first one I want to tell when something exciting happens... Honestly the person I want to share my entire life with.

I never thought I'd feel like this, never thought contentment was possible, but we've been together for 7 very difficult years and I'd have it no other way smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now