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So what do you do when you've been together with someone for 12 years and no longer find them attractive,

(74 Posts)
NotInTheMood Thu 25-Jul-13 12:20:15

and there's no passion or lust on the rare occasions you kiss, you've ran out of things to say other then trivia crap. The relationship is more of a good friendship. Is this the end of the marriage can it be saved. This feeling of awkwardness with him and pretending especially in the bed room.

Caster8 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:22:45

Has this been a gradual thing. What was different about the relationship in the beginning?

Jan45 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:26:18

Call it a day.

Branleuse Thu 25-Jul-13 12:28:34

thats when you have a big talk and amicably call it a day.

PiHigh Thu 25-Jul-13 12:33:44

Has something changed in the relationship? e.g. is it that you've lost the 'couple' feeling because you've both been focused on the kids/careers, etc.

If so, then I think it's possible to fix things by working on getting back to being more of a couple. If it's not that then I think you go you call it a day.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 25-Jul-13 12:35:16

I think you have an honest conversation. Not as blunt as 'I don't fancy you any more' but how you are worried about the future of the relationship because it seems so awkward between you.

ImperialBlether Thu 25-Jul-13 12:35:23

How is it even a good friendship if you've run out of things to say?

JohFlow Thu 25-Jul-13 12:46:23

No passion? little fulfilling conversation? intimacy problems?

Is this just over-familiarity; in which case can you do something to 'shock' them/yourself into looking afresh at each other.

Or is it that the relationship has actually died or there is 'too much water under the bridge'?

Do you still love your partner and see a positive future?

It's a personal decision whether to continue your relationship or not.

It can be soul-destroying (and a waste of life) trying to flog a dead horse. So you may need to test the water with your partner to see how motivated they are to work things out.

If there is nothing coming back - decide to make a healthy choice and cut your losses. There is no relationship if you are doing all the work

12 years is a long time so take your time when thinking through your decision. Once you have come to a conclusion - stick by your guns.

Good Luck

Caster8 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:47:29

We have so little info on here to go by, and strangers already say "call it a day".
No wonder there are so many single people about.

NotInTheMood Thu 25-Jul-13 13:01:23

We've had ups and downs an bad patches but this seems a bit different. A lot of things that slightly annoyed me about him really annoy me now but that is him and always will be. We have two children under 8. Both work fultime or I work term time. We haven't even argued lately so nothing to pin it too. I just find myself not really having much feeling apart from not wanting to hurt him. I look at him and I really don't fancy him. His clothes taste has got worse and he doesn't really make the effort. I find myself looking at other men and I don't want to be like that. He is a good man and the father of my children he works hard etc . Do I give it up in the hope il find someone better. He's giving in bed etc but he just doesn't turn me on anymore and I so want to fix it but is it fair to keep pretending??

Caster8 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:05:28

have you had conversations about this. Even if you have to hurt his feelings? The alterantive wouldnt be nice for him either.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 25-Jul-13 13:10:01

It's not fair to say nothing because he probably thinks things are going OK. There's no good way to say to someone that you think the relationship is falling apart but, if you say nothing, he will carry on thinking nothing's wrong and have no idea that his world is about to come to crunching halt. And that's just cruel

You don't give it up 'to find someone better' necessarily. If you give up at all, it's for the sake of personal integrity, and to allow him to find someone who appreciates him.

LaRegina Thu 25-Jul-13 13:11:14

I am a bit shock at all the people saying you should call it a day. That's really sad, particularly when there are two children involved.

Yes something needs to happen, but nobody has cheated here, nobody has behaved in an abusive way - so surely it's worth a go at turning things around?

Would he consider going to counselling with you? Does he even realise there's a problem? Even just trying to talk about the fact that there's a problem in the first place might help - you sound so disconnected from each other, its not surprising you don't feel like jumping on him.

It sounds clichéd but it's true - you need to put aside time to sit down together with a glass of wine and talk - with the tv off - about anything. Maybe you're just so out of the habit of talking together you've kind of forgotten how to?

And the clothes thing - maybe he just doesn't have a clue about clothes. Can't you buy him some decent stuff?

NotInTheMood Thu 25-Jul-13 13:13:42

No not yet but I know I will have to. I've completely avoided sex the last few months and when I have I feel like he senses I'm not into him. Sex is an effort for me anyway lately working and kids etc but normally when I get into it I'm ok. But even kissing is dead there's no connection.

Branleuse Thu 25-Jul-13 13:55:46

whats wrong with single people?

JohFlow Thu 25-Jul-13 14:00:26

How are you feeling in yourself Not?

Sounds like you are very busy parents and that can sap your energy and your libido.

Changes of mood can affect the whole of family life...

MissStrawberry Thu 25-Jul-13 14:03:01

Saying you think you should give up to find something better is really sad and rude about your husband. Your husband is quite possibly perfect for someone else. Maybe he is already thinking he would like to get rid to find someone better than you. Be a grown up and have a conversation but don't give false hope if really you just want out to find someone better.

moochops Thu 25-Jul-13 14:20:34

I think I understand how you are feeling. We've been married for 9 years and have two young children. We are frankly exhausted and it is a struggle. But last week we took a day off from work (whilst the kids were at school/preschool) and went for a swim and had lunch together. We wouldn't normally do this as annual leave is something we save for childcare in school hols, but it was so worth doing and such a tonic. Think what I'm trying to say is not to give up, keep looking for an opportunity to get things bsck on track.

Oblomov Thu 25-Jul-13 14:24:57

Finding someone better? Better in what way?
More caring? harder worker?
Sounds like your dh IS all those things.
More exciting? Better lover?

Have you even tried the softly approach? Tell him the spark seems to have gone and you want to spend some time with him? That highlights the issue, but in a less harsh way, which actually is flattering to him, by telling him you want to spend more time with him.
book a babysitter and go out for a meal. Buy yourself some new underwear and him some new clothes.
Ask your mum to have the kids and stay overnight in a hotel?

I'm just saying, that it sounds like there is nothing wrong with the bloke. Just gone a bit 'stale'. It happens. But I'm sure with a bit of effort you may be able to get it going a bit.
And if THAT comes to nothing, then maybe it is time for THE conversation, where you call it a day.

But giving up? AT the first hurdle? FGS, is that what the standard advice is these days? hmm

Dahlen Thu 25-Jul-13 14:31:04

You talk. No one here can predict whether this is a situation that can be turned around or whether it really is time to call it a day, but not talking to him will either result in you both limping forward becoming steadily more miserable and understanding each other less and less, or you'll end up splitting up under a cloud. This way you have a chance to make it work so you can separate as amicably as possible.

Personally I'd recommend relationship counselling because if you explore what's wrong with your marriage and decide you can't make it work, counselling is really very good at helping you to keep this amicable during the split.

Caster8 Thu 25-Jul-13 14:33:00

Branleuse. There is nothing wrong with single people.
But if as Oblomov says, if a person is going to give up easily, than there is not much point to coupledom.

But that is not what the op is doing. She has asked for advice and help.

Caster8 Thu 25-Jul-13 14:35:00

Are you afraid to open up and talk to him?
When did you last have a holiday together?

cubiclejockey Thu 25-Jul-13 14:39:24

I would suggest starting with being honest with yourself and examining your own feelings and motivations very carefully. I have often found that when I'm irritated, angry, sad...or even happy, the reasons are really down to me. Not other people. And as humans we often project responsibility for our emotional well-being on to others. (and I'm talking about "normal" relationships outside of those that are DV or EA).

My point is, don't be so quick to target your husband as being the reason for your dissatisfaction with your life and marriage. And you yourself know that looking at other people as an escape is not the answer. Other people have problems and irritating flaws too. Start with yourself and then look to work together with your husband. But it does take effort and you will have to decide how much you will be willing to do.

Perhaps individual CBT counseling might be useful?

ChimeForChange Thu 25-Jul-13 14:45:40

Do you get the feeling that he feels the same, or do you think it's more just you?

Even if you did split up I'm not sure your first thought should be finding someone better.

It's hard to advise without knowing a great deal, from what you've described maybe working on your relationship could improve things?
Maybe plan a weekend away together, if notwithstanding work term time maybe use these holidays to put more time into your relationship?

If you think the past bad-patches are shadowing over things then I'm not sure what I'd advise...

Not easy but do try to talk to him, tell him things are dull and you feel the relationship is slipping away, see what he says/how he feels

Good luck x

MumnGran Thu 25-Jul-13 14:46:23

Get a divorce. The marriage isn't working for you, and your partner will not be unconscious of the mounting signs that you just don't really love him as a partner anymore. It eats away at a marriage slowly but surely.

Its very sad, particularly when you still care for someone in a kind way, but it is more kind to end it while you both have time to start new lives .....than discover that you really can't do it anymore when its just the two of you left at home in a few years time.

ChimeForChange Thu 25-Jul-13 14:46:38

Notwithstanding should read "you only work" !!!

NotInTheMood Thu 25-Jul-13 15:53:23

I didn't mean it how it sounded when I said someone better dh is a good man but I think we are too different and like I've said I'm not attracted to him. We've together since I was 19 just wondering if we've changed out grown each other.

BenedictCumberbitch Thu 25-Jul-13 15:57:30

Do you think it's maybe a case of growing apart from each other instead of with each other during your 20s then? It sounds like the attraction issue isn't the only one? Might it be linked to another issue, like these 'differences'?

BenedictCumberbitch Thu 25-Jul-13 15:59:30

(You certainly need to talk to him, as previous posters have said)

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 25-Jul-13 16:02:45

People really do evolve a lot in their 20s, usually, so if you've both been evolving in different directions, that would explain a lot. Do you see yourselves as 2 incompatible people now?

Or has he changed physically in that time? You speak about lack of attraction more than about incompatibility, tbh.

Ipp3 Thu 25-Jul-13 16:06:01

If you have nothing to say the maybe that is a sign that you / you both need to do new things so you have something to talk about? I have never understood the whole ' I don' t find you attractive anymore, let's split 'thing tbh. You can't find each other hot to trot forever. And society's demand for constant sexual attractiveness in partners works against women more than men IMO.

BenedictCumberbitch Thu 25-Jul-13 16:10:45

^ do agree with Ipp3 to some extent. (Though if there's literally nothing there, nothing could bring it back & sex/intimacy is a no go then it's different IMO. It's not fair on either partner).

Caster8 Thu 25-Jul-13 16:13:52

Has someone else caught your eye?

Neitheronethingortheother Thu 25-Jul-13 16:18:26

I couldnt leave a marriage with children unless I had tried everything to try and salvage it. Especially if there was no particular reason like infidelity or addiction etc....

I would first examine my own thoughts and feelings to make sure I wasnt projecting my own stuff on to him.

I would attend counselling on my own or with him

I would speak to him and tell him how I felt

I would ask him how he felt

I would invest more time and emotion into the relationship

Try to remember the fun things that we used to enjoy

make sure I was not looking for too much from the relationship and maybe take up a hobby or take on a course so as not to expect all my needs to be met from the one source

Accept that all marriages go through rough patches and treat something that was not going on for longer than 6 months as a rough patch.

PearlyWhites Thu 25-Jul-13 16:22:27

Everything neither said, also maybe be less selfish, marriage should be a lifelong commitment not until I get bored of my spouse.

arsenaltilidie Thu 25-Jul-13 16:58:12

Your DH needs to be more dominant and have a life for himself a bit.
Whilst most disagree but at the end of the day a man being too passive is not attractive.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 25-Jul-13 18:04:16

" You can't find each other hot to trot forever. And society's demand for constant sexual attractiveness in partners works against women more than men IMO."

'Hot to trot' and 'sexual attractiveness' maybe not, but couples can and should expect to be affectionate, respectful and caring towards each other for the duration. When there is no affection, no respect and no-one cares it's not even a friendship, let alone a marriage..

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 25-Jul-13 18:08:18

"marriage should be a lifelong commitment not until I get bored of my spouse."

That's how it used to be in the bad old days when women (mostly) found themselves trapped economically, financially and socially in long, sad marriages that they couldn't escape and where they suffered as a result or ended up downing 'mother's little helpers'. We've progressed a long way from there, thank goodness, getting out is easier, and maybe that means married couples need to think a little harder before tying the knot and be a bit more on their toes and take each other less for granted afterwards.... IMHO that's not a bad thing.

noddyholder Thu 25-Jul-13 18:10:02

There is nothing wrong with growing apart and wanting more than a flat mate who you find slightly irritating. I think a trial time apart would really help.

puffinnuffin Thu 25-Jul-13 18:14:58

Having young children can be exhausting and it is easy to lose each other during this.

Have you tried going on 'dates' every once in awhile to rediscover what it was you first saw in each other? Is there a hobby you can both enjoy together which doesn't involve the children (eg dancing, singing in a choir, a fitness class)?

I maybe old fashioned but with 2 young children I wouldn't give up and would try to do everything to keep the marriage together. Couples Counselling would be a good start.

Silver15 Thu 25-Jul-13 18:22:10

The grass is not always greener

peteypiranha Thu 25-Jul-13 18:23:31

Of course you should be sexually attracted to each other forever. You only get to have sex with one person you want to make sure its with someone you cant keep your hands off

Op do you share any interests or do anything together?

Silver15 Thu 25-Jul-13 18:24:46

The grass is not always greener on the other side and it takes 2 to tangle.

Invest time in your relationship and like others have suggested talk to him.

Howstricks Thu 25-Jul-13 18:25:08

You talk and you do your damn best to sort it, you owe that to him and the kids and your own self respect. Remember that the grass is not greener, that everyone has tough times. Have some wine, sit down and plan your future..have some fun and shake yourselves up. If he is a good man you will come out of this closer.

Howstricks Thu 25-Jul-13 18:27:05

Looks like we all have green grass! Love the idea of taking two to tangle smile

Twirlyhot Thu 25-Jul-13 18:28:19

Do you think it's worth making an effort to see if you can reconnect with him?

I would have to try. The thought of having my DC waking up in another house every week would be enough to make me try.

noddyholder Thu 25-Jul-13 18:29:27

It has nothing to do with self respect. I personally think people who stay in an unhappy relationship where they get nothing for themselves from it have the least self respect as they just don't consider their needs aside form the family a priority. The time you have with dc flies and you do need there to be something more keeping you together. My ds is 19 and off to uni this year and I thank god dp and I still have a great relationship as I have seen some of my mates flounder because they didn't address the dwindling relationship sooner.

CinnamonAddict Thu 25-Jul-13 18:30:37

I've been with my dh since I was 19. And we are very very different in our hobbies, personalities etc. But we always knew this and have never made any effort each to get "into" each others hobbies. We found things we both liked.
We have grown together, but no relationship is without periods of struggling. That doesn't mean staying together regardless, it means trying to work out why things aren't as they used to be.
You don't find him attractive anymore, but sex is still good if you do it. That doesn't sound completely hopeless to me.
Try to find out what is missing, why you are awkward around him.

We have always embraced being very different, and we have always talked about what's wrong, even if it hurts.

Howstricks Thu 25-Jul-13 18:42:18

Noddy..I wouldn't respect myself if I had given up without at least some effort, though I would expect that effort to afford some change. I'm not suggesting a martyrdom.

NotInTheMood Thu 25-Jul-13 19:47:44

I think the awkwardness is from the fact he is still attracted to me and shows affection whereas I can't or find it more false. I know the grass isn't greener and i know nothing or no one can replace being with the father of your children and growing old together. Part of it is I've grown up and he hasn't so much we are the same age. He can be very grumpy especially with the kids at times. We are just so so different. Sex isn't overly important but it is to him so the fact I don't find him attractive makes it difficult for me.

newgirl Thu 25-Jul-13 19:52:16

Go to Relate!

Sounds like you are both in a rut and could do with support/new ideas/kick up backside.

Caster8 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:10:28

I sort of get the impression that you have already emotionally checked out, without talking to him at all.

Perhaps you dont want him, or you, to come up with ideas to save the relationship?

And if so, I am wondering why.

JaceyBee Thu 25-Jul-13 20:29:38

I know this isn't the point so sorry for digressing but I always wonder why so many posters seem to recommend someone who is having relationship problems/general disillusionment have CBT? These type of issues are much more suited to less brief, goal focused approaches that are more explorative and less directive. CBT is great for some things but its not always the best option. I would look for a good integrative counsellor/psychotherapist.

Speedos Thu 25-Jul-13 20:32:36

I could almost write your words myself, I am in the exact same situation with my DH except if we ever have sex it's boring (only done twice this year).

It is really hard because I would rather be here than alone but I do feel trapped.

I wish I had the answer!

maleview70 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:41:27

"I'd rather be here than alone"

Alone isn't as bad as you make it sound....

CinnamonAddict Thu 25-Jul-13 21:57:20

I think there is way more than you tell us. Why has he not grown up, why is sex more important to him, why is he grumpy with the kids. etc.

Oblomov Fri 26-Jul-13 06:58:20

I agree with Caster8. You have had great advice, but none of it seems to be helping you, hitting home with you.
All your posts, especially the last one, show that in actual fact, you seem to have already 'checked out'.
It seems that its not really advice you are looking for, more validation that your decision to leave is o.k.

Oblomov Fri 26-Jul-13 07:01:53

Three's more to this than meets the eye, as Cinnamon says.
You seem to be telling us nothing. That is your prerogative, it is your thread. Or is this a sign of you yourself being emotionally guarded?Maybe this explains why you act the way you do, to a man who seems perfectly pleasant. A man, who it would appear deserves some effort and better treatment, from you. But you seems unable/unprepared to give.

No point any of us wasting our time, giving our advice, if deep down you really don't want it. Just say!!

JustinBsMum Fri 26-Jul-13 07:36:13

I read somewhere that men in a marriage need a happy wife to make them feel successful and happy, if you see what I mean, that is what makes them successful in their own eyes. So your lack of interest and criticism could be getting picked up by him and making him worse company.

I wonder what you are really looking for, separation so that some dreamboat can move in? Separation so that you can live an exciting part-time single life?

Imagine that you split and he finds someone new very quickly, how would you feel?

If you don't really want to stay with this man then continue as you are but it would be interesting if you changed and became more vivacious in his company and paid more attention to how you looked and gave him more attention. Will he change to match you???

JustinBsMum Fri 26-Jul-13 07:39:35

AAaah! Have you met someone you fancy?

Lazyjaney Fri 26-Jul-13 07:59:20

It seems that its not really advice you are looking for, more validation that your decision to leave is o.k

My impression too. There is more to this. My antennae tell me there is a new man on the scene.

bigstrongmama Fri 26-Jul-13 08:07:28

Think you are getting some harsh comments here! It seems entirely understandable that you wouldn't feel excited about a grumpy man who makes no effort to appear attractive to you.
How grumpy is he?
I agree with previous posters that Relate might be a good idea...
Are you reluctant to talk to him because you don't believe he can change?

NotInTheMood Fri 26-Jul-13 09:29:03

There is no man on the scene and I'm not looking for validation to leave. I am just wondering how normal it is to feel like your not attracted to your partner or to feel you've drifted apart. It's hard to write lots on here as I've got my children home etc and there's 12 years history to write about. Sex is important to most men and he does have a high sex drive. If I don't want sex he gets a bit moody maybe he takes it personally. Most of the time I am just knackered but even so I go along with it I guess to try and help the marriage , closeness. Dh has always been a bit Kiddish sometimes he doesn't read situations well and I get a bit fed up with being the serious one. He is grumpy with kids or perhaps strict we have different upbringings. He does however clash with ds1 in a big way and mainly because they are so similar, tiring and frustrating.
I've been with the guy for 12 years and have had ups and downs before and I've stayed and worked at it. His family are toxic and caused stress in the passed. Perhaps I do think the grass is greener and do not realise what I already have.
The way I felt the other night was awful and what I didn't say because it sounds absolutely awful is that at times because there is no attraction, lust or whatever you want to call it I feel like I am prostituting myself in the bedroom. And that's an awful thing to say or feel. I am trying to keep him happy and to be a wife but its hard when you feel like that. He doesn't put the pressure on anymore and rarely initiates it but when he does I feel like I should go along with.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 26-Jul-13 09:48:30

" I am just wondering how normal it is to feel like your not attracted to your partner or to feel you've drifted apart."

It's normal. If it wasn't normal, organisations like Relate wouldn't flourish and there wouldn't be a substantial percentage of marriages ending up in the divorce courts. Those aside, I'm sure there is another substantial percentage of relationships where people (for whatever reason) choose to stay together and endure the feeling you're describing. You see these (often quite old) couples out and about from time to time, snapping at each other, rolling their eyes and generally acting like they really don't like each other. What a miserable waste of a life.

Being 'a wife' shouldn't make any difference. If you don't want to have sex with someone, don't do it. It's not your responsibility to make him happy just because he put a ring on your finger once.

MorrisZapp Fri 26-Jul-13 09:52:47

Can I just ask something in general. All the advice about leaving if you're unhappy, don't waste your life, etc etc. How does this sit alongside the usual invective on threads about infidelity where children are involved, ie the crime of ripping apart a family?

Where are the kids needs in this?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 26-Jul-13 10:12:21

Infidelity is a completely different matter because it's a gross loss of trust and the breaking of promises. Few relationships can split amicably after something like that and it's the betray that tends to 'rip apart' families, force people to take sides etc.

Two grown-ups reluctantly accepting that a relationship is unhappy and isn't working any more, and then parting on reasonably good terms, ensuring the DCs are disrupted as little as possible, can potentially create a healthier, happier two-centre family.

CinnamonAddict Fri 26-Jul-13 10:29:36

OP, that sound a bit different. Of course you should not have sex with him if you don't want to.
To a degree I think what you describe is normal, but there are so many aspects (toxic family, disagreements about parenting, the attraction issue, your tiredness...) that I would consider professional help if you are willing to put the effort in.
Particularly in times of stress the grass is very much greener, but you don't know how knackering it is to maintain it at this level of green-ness (or how high the weed is growing in the borders).

Talking to a professional can help take stock and find out if you (both) can save this marriage. I'd be the last person to urge anyone to stay in an unbearable situation.

Dahlen Fri 26-Jul-13 10:44:03

The more I read about this, the more it seems that actually he's given up making any effort towards either family life or you and yet seems to expect normal service from you (i.e. sex, a well-run life and home, nicely brought up children). I'm not surprised you've gone off him. Sounds to me like being taken for granted for so long has resulted in you feeling less like a desirable woman and more like a mousy wife, mother and housekeeper. It's not surprising your libido has nosedived and you've ceased to find him attractive.

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:50:17

When did you last have a heart to heart with him?

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:52:07

Is he the same sort of age as you?

allaflutter Fri 26-Jul-13 10:52:43

those who say 'try for the kids' - you think it's a good atmoshpere for them to live in, loveless marriage and actually OP doesn;t even LIKE him, and says she feels like hurting him. You've just drifted well apart, OP, so best to separate and see whether you feel that you miss him. Atm you are not going to find that drive that's needed to change things with him, as you are just fed up with his presence. It may be that you feel a lot better as a free and single, so then you can go on and divorce.

peteypiranha Fri 26-Jul-13 11:01:57

I dont think its normal to feel like this at only 12 years in. You havent been together that long if you think how long your life is. It doesnt sound like you are getting much out of the relationship.

brettgirl2 Fri 26-Jul-13 11:04:14

You need to try counselling. Any relationship can start to go stale. You need him to grow up, you need to rekindle the spark by having a laugh and finding stuff you both enjoy. Don't end it till you've tried is my advice, then you can be sure it's the right thing to do.

JustinBsMum Fri 26-Jul-13 11:24:10

I agree with brettgirl2, also, you sound ground down. What can you do to make your own life more fun, can you do stuff outside the home that would give you a break from squabbling DH and DCs. You are the exhausted DM in the home but there is no rule that says that you must also be the doormat. Can you change things for yourself?

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