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Spark has gone- what to do- aged 48 and 2 kids

(48 Posts)
history Mon 18-Feb-19 14:40:35

I've with my husband for 18 years and we have a nice life, 2 boys 11 and 9 and nice house etc.. He's a great dad and supportive husband in many ways but I haven't been happy for a while. He doesn't really emotionally engage and to be honest we have grown apart. We have probably had sex maybe 10 times in the last 5/6 years and he doesn't try any more for fear of rejection. I've raised a few times how I feel and he tries hard but says he's happy and doesn't see it as I do. Bottom line for me is I do love him but I'm not in love with him. I don't find him attractive in the slightest and feel as I've been living in limbo for the last 5 years in a state of indecision about whether to end it..I've suggested a trial.separation in the past but he just days he's not going anywhere.. I've arranged for us go to couples counselling which whilst he says he doesn't want anything to change- he will do.
To be honest I am frightened to end it( although starting to feel I must have a trial.separation at least to see how it feels) but frightened to stay in something that makes me feel quite depressed for the future. He's a quiet low key guy who doesn't like emotion or confrontation and I'm the opposite and starting to feel as I've started to not be me and am suppressing everything. He doesn't deserve this.
Please help!!!!

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Otter71 Mon 18-Feb-19 18:22:28

Apart from the kids ages (mine are teenagers) I could have written this myself.
Eventually he told me to go but now seems to regret it and be saying that's not true. So expect surprises no matter what you do.
He had been declining counselling (or at least agreeing then cancelling last minute) and denying all my dreams for years - as soon as I starting talking a split he was about to do all of it but I have to say it felt it was too late and he would only have gone back on it as soon as I said I'd stay. He had also had a lot of controlling behaviours though (throwing out clothes of mine I liked but he didn't whilst I was at work, blocking plans to go out to the extent I gave up trying etc.)
That will no doubt continue because he can now tell me that he can't afford to buy me out (even though the mortgage advisor says different) which shows that he is keeping up his old habits..
All good fun!!!

iamthrough Tue 19-Feb-19 14:09:58

Hello @History.
Sorry to hear your story - it's not an easy place to be. I was in the same place 6/7 years ago, decided to ignore my doubts, knuckle down and work hard on my marriage. It worked for a while but 2 years ago I realised all I was doing was distracting myself, and that nothing was actually helping my feelings return for my H. Personally I believe once they're gone, they're gone. Others believe differently. Now we are divorced and I'm about to start my new life as a singleton in my 40's. Scary as hell but I do believe my life going forward will be better now than if I'd stayed in a miserable & boring marriage.

Only you can decide if you can turn your feelings around. Individual counselling helped me - you might want to try that before going as a couple? Also there's a book, To bad to Stay, Too good to leave which I found very helpful. best of luck.

history Tue 19-Feb-19 16:20:25

Thanks Iamthrough- I guess I need to do the extra trying hence trying couples counselling but if I'm honest I feel like I've been trying for years and it's exhausting. I've been having counselling myself for a few years but it feels as if it's all avoidance/distraction from the real issue.. I'm nearly 48 and I don't want to drift along for another 5/10 years wondering whether to stay or go..the couple counselling is to try and help him understand just how serious things are- a last ditch so I feel I've exhausted the options- for my kids mainly . He just goes along in our domestic mire- yes he helps out a lot but he's quite happy doing the same thing day in/day out, never really talking properly about anything, never arranging any time together or proper family time for that matter or emotionally engaging. I'm tired of it all if I'm honest and a bit lonely...I'm also 47 not 87!

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MissedTheBoatAgain Wed 20-Feb-19 01:33:07


Some marriages just fizzle out without either partner being at fault.

I stayed in a pointless marriage until Stepdaughter became a UK Citizen. After that I filed for Divorce. Son who is much younger than his half sister seems to have handled it well.

Life is too short to stay in a pointless marriage. I was 49 when I filed for Divorce.

Sadly Ex did not want the Divorce and turned it into a contest. Took almost two years before Decree Absolute was issued.

GraciousEm Fri 22-Feb-19 00:47:26

Many of us have been there

GraciousEm Fri 22-Feb-19 01:01:18

Sorry pressed post a bit early there! What i was going to say was I've been through a very similar time. Like you i loved my husband but there was something missing. I think this is true in every long term relationship. I made a conscious decision to focus on my H good traits. It's easy to get annoyed and aggravated particularly when yoi are tired doing often menial tasks. It sounds like he is a good man but with typical male traits of bottling things up and glossing over the emotional stuff. In my case i made an effort to be a bit more attentive and think about him a bit more. I think id become a bit obsessive believing that i would be happier alone or with someone else. My more outwardly attentive approach did bring my H out more and we started to engage a lot better. Certainly having more sex definitely helped. It brought back that emotional connection which had gone missing. I found happiness again but a different kind. More an appreciation of the strong love we have for each other. You should certainly keep trying as if it is anything like my relationship it seems like it needs a reboot and a resetting. Where there is love there is a way. Good luck

AloneLonelyLoner Fri 22-Feb-19 19:24:46

I'm in the same position but our children are younger. We've been together 20 years. It's like having a housemate who I have nothing in common with. I'm sorry you're in the same situation. I have no real advice, but posting to share empathy. My thoughts currently are that I can't waste anymore time. Nothing will change. I feel sad, but relieved in a way. Maybe think about when you're celebrating your 50th. Can you imagine the situation being exactly the same and you being content with that. If not. You know what to do.

Itsnotme123 Fri 22-Feb-19 20:47:41

Hi history I would talk to him and see if there’s a way in which you can both be happy. Even if you have to have separate lives under the same roof. See if you can both agree on a way forward somehow.

If it doesn’t work, can’t agree, or ends up in more misery, then at least you have tried, and then you won’t feel guilty leaving him or kicking him out.

PlinkPlink Fri 22-Feb-19 21:08:44

I wasn't married but was in a relationship for quote some time. 10 years. I look back on it now and it really should have ended 4 years in. Both of us had faults but I found myself particularly stifled. It was never a great foundation for a relationship tbh.

Instead what followed was many years of having my feelings dismissed, having my career controlled, being used as a doormat, being separated from my friends and encourage not to partake in my hobby because he didn't want me to leave him. He was so controlling, even to the point of telling me I wasn't allowed to choose music in the car if he was driving.

It wasn't until I had a breakdown and counselling that I began to unravel my head (for many other things too) and see how unhappy I was. How stifled I was. And that it was never going to change.

As soon as I got to that point, I told him. We were engaged to be married and he issued me an ultimatum. Either we get married or we break up. I chose the latter. OP, I have never been happier. It was the best decision of my life.

I now have a wonderful man by my side who truly loves me and encourages me to be me. I have a wonderful son with him.

Do not stifle yourself. Do not ever lose yourself in a relationship. A good relationship allows people to grow outside of the relationship. This does not sound like your relationship from your description.

It's scary taking the step. But the grass really is greener on the other side of this one.

history Sat 23-Feb-19 10:13:43

Thank you all so much for your thoughts- Gracious Em- what you say gives me hope that maybe we can work things through but the comments from others - particularly Plink Plink and Its not me also give me strength to believe in the other side if it comes to that. It's been a strange few days. I had a great sleep Thursday night and came down Friday morning to go find my H on the sofa saying he had had a massive panic attack about me leaving him, not slept a wink all night and was distraught...he tends to internalize for months and then it just all comes out..he's an insomnia so I hadn't noticed particularly ge wasn't in bed as he's up and down all the time and we rarely go to bed together
I felt/feel dreadful and whilst I tried to comfort him was also honest that I hadn't made any decisions and the idea of couple counselling was to try and see if we could get us back on track...
Anyway I also mooted the idea of one of us living elsewhere for a few weeks at some point for some space but he views this as 'running away' and won't consider it..I pointed out it wasn't running away but giving headspace...!

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GraciousEm Sat 23-Feb-19 11:15:55

It sounds like you have have at least opened the door to help things move forward. On what i have read here and of course it is only a snapshot it does seem like your H is a good man who loves you. Not controlling like others have stated in their cases. I can only talk about my experience and i think sometimes i looked at things through a blurred perspective overly romantizing and losing myself in memories and boxsets! I looked within myself and thought i do love my H and we need to reset the relationship and recognise what we do have and build on it. Certainly a mire physical relationship really helped put a spark back in as well as a fuller emotional connection. Your story sounds just like mine and i can say that i came through it and have a full and loving relationship with my H. Its just different than it was. I think its the way relationships change and evolve. I really hope it all works out for you

history Sat 23-Feb-19 17:38:01

Thank you Gracious Em for your kind words.

It's tricky though isn't it when you're out of the sex/intimacy habit and to be frank the crux of it is that I don't fancy him! Is that just normal after 18 years?!!! That's what makes me think about being on my own/with someone else (I completely get the obsessing about it thing!) Appreciate any thoughts on this!!!

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poundoflard Sat 23-Feb-19 17:51:20

Oh my word this could have been me last year.

Married 13 years, kids same age as yours.
Nothing in common, loved but not in love, also depression, loneliness, isolation, boredom, etc etc
Stressful couple of years so We planned to go on an extended holiday.
I took kids out of school , planned it all etc , Dh decided he couldn't go for as long as planned . So I went alone.

BEST move ever. Space, freedom, independence , happiness, TRUE happiness and a feeling of being alive again. He joined us for the last couple of weeks of travel and his moodiness spoilt it all and I realised I had done the hardest thing and that was to admit to myself things were beyond repair and I HAD to do something. I came home and decided to leave.

I rent a house nearby, we share the kids, he supports me and them and our relationship is better, tho we are separated and not going for divorce yet. I am happy , kids are (mostly) ok with is and I feel a different person.

If you want the space you must just do it, move out, do something but take control . Happiness is such a wonderfull healer

GraciousEm Sat 23-Feb-19 18:37:10

I get what you are saying. I turned my self off on the physical side of things and it probably had a role on pushing us further apart. I think it is entirely normal to find your H less appealing when you live together. You see their bad habits and find it difficult to get past the general feeling of irritation. I think all women will agree that the most attractive characteristic in a partner is perhaps less their physical appearance (we all age) and more the emotional connection.....there is a kind of catch 22 though as in some ways physical closeness can often bring abour an emotional response. I guess at the end of the day only you will know and i can only pass on my experiences and thoughts. I always loved my H but i think we both got distracted by too many other things. We made a conscious effort to refocus on each other in every aspect. Emotionally, physically but respect that things do change as we grow older together. Some say that grass is greener and it might be in some cases but 18 years is a long time together snd of there is still love there in many ways this cant be easily replaced. I hope it all works out for you and of course everyone is different and has different experiences but i sense you at least have a desire to get things "back on track "......

history Sat 23-Feb-19 20:51:26

Thank you poundoflard and Gracious Em...well you know I feel I should try for the kids, for our history, for him because he's such a decent man and because then I will know I tried for all of us.. although equally I'm torn because sometimes (quite a lot) I also think I want out, living somewhere without him - being on my own and free (other than my kids of course!). I do kind of day dream about this as I definitely feel 'lighter' and happier when he's not around.

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poundoflard Sat 23-Feb-19 21:05:40

I know some folk who have left their partners/ spouses and realised they miss them too much to throw it all away, in an absence -makes -the -heart -grow -fonder kind of way.

For me it was out of sight out of mind! I totally had a clean break, away in another country and living a life I wanted. I was happy and the kids were happy at last because I wasn't a miserable bitch trying to please someone who also wasn't happy anymore.

I know I couldn't maintain that level of happiness ( 'normal' for most people) if we remained together as a family.
My Dh is a good man, but he annoys me too much and I can't pretend any more.

The friends of mine who took a break, really thought about what they missed/ wanted/ need out of a relationship and decided it was worth another go. I knew it was past that point for me.

I think you will only know of you get the chance to put a bit of space between you... without anyone else butting in and telling you what you should be doing, (irony eh?)

Lots of thinking, soul searching , space and time will tell.

Good luck

history Mon 25-Feb-19 10:51:58

Thanks- can I ask about kissing? We get on in so many ways but it's kissing- don't enjoy kissing him, him touching me and don't want to have sex with him. Everything else I could be happy with but this is the crux of it.
It's so goddamn annoying, upsetting and tragic. How do you get that wanting them physically back???

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GraciousEm Mon 25-Feb-19 14:43:10

I can only offer my thoughts of course. I was switched off completely from physical contact. I believe it was connected to my emotional state at the time. I had experienced a lot of upset in my life and i found physical contact difficult. This may not ring true for you of course I think part of it was the emotional side but also being out if practice too. It was almost as if sex became an event rather than fun. We tried to inject some fun back into it. After a while it felt normal again if that makes sense? I dont know your circumstances of course but i can sense many similarities with mine. Dont put pressure on yourself. Im sure you had good physical relations before after all you have kids.....there is no reason that you can't get them back. I hope this helps

history Sun 03-Mar-19 12:52:03

I'm trying so much to 'switch back on' but its just not working. He's a lovely guy- so helpful but I just don't feel that way- kissing him, cuddling it just feels wrong...ever since our honest chat the other week which I mentioned above he's so anxious- he said it's like 'he's finally woken up ie to the fact that this is serious! It's such a stress carrying on pretending everything is ok on an on going basis..he keeps wanting to have heavy chats all the time and although I get why he needs to its making it worse and makes me want to run away! Clearly I won't do that but it's exhausting...we start couples counselling on Tuesday and he's really worried about that- I guess I am too.!

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GraciousEm Sun 03-Mar-19 15:04:45

Hello again..i hope you dont think that i am stalking you or trying to monopolise this thread but i can really empathise with what you are going through and can only hope that my similar circumstances and ultimately good outcome can give you some help. As i said i switched off completely from physical contact. In my case it was an emotional response to a death in my family and i suspect triggering some sort of crisis, mid life or otherwise. My H was and is a lovely man who has always tried to do his best for his family
Sounds a bit like yours.....but we drfifted apart emotionally. I knew we had to sort things out but i had to work on repairing my mental state while also trying to reconnect with H. Actually i found talking with him very helpful but sometimes stressful as i had stuff in my own head which needed sorting out too. For me i had locked everything away and my desires etc were being surpressed. There was no magic wand and you certainly can't accelerate the process. We also had counselling and it certainly helped but i had to work on getting myself right too. It sounds like you might be trying to run before you can walk which i did too (im very impatient!) Through a combination of counselling, talking with my H and slowly rebuilding we got there and i can honestly say that although it was a horrible time our marriage is actually better now that it had been for years. I can't imagine life without him although i did try to for a while. I really hope you csn get through this like i did

history Sun 03-Mar-19 18:03:39

Gracious Em- no not at all I really appreciate your thoughts- it's very weird actually. I lost my dad after a very long illness and since then everything has felt far more shut away and I too have wondered if I'm having a mid life crisis! How strange all the similarities! I'm trying to focus on self care too as well as seeing if we can sort things out between us..thank you again..x

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history Sun 03-Mar-19 18:08:55

Ps gracious Em how long have you been together and when did you have your crisis if you don't mind mean asking?

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GraciousEm Mon 04-Mar-19 09:05:17

Of course not. We had been together for just over 20 years and like you i was in my late 40's. I think it would be fair to say that everything combined, my age, my loss and other things all brought things to a head and i went through a mental and emotional crisis. I did a lot of soul searching but came through it. My H was actually amazingly supportive and understood more than i gave him credit for. Go easy on yourself and i suppose don't look for quick answers. In my case it took a bit of time but i came through it. Keep positive.....

dazedandconfused36 Wed 06-Mar-19 12:16:28

@history everything you've written I could've written myself. I'm 36, with a 3.5 yr old DD and am around 7 weeks pregnant with number 2. I have had serious doubts about my relationship for so many years, probably more than ten. We didn't have a great start, he broke up with me for his ex but, pathetic as a was then, wanted him back when they broke up. I always tried to be what he wanted, it's ridiculous to look back now and see how much I compromised myself to be the kind of girl he liked. I won't do that now. We have grown apart, we have very little in common, and. although he is an attractive man, I don't fancy him and haven't wanted physical contact with him for years, even before our daughter was born. I recoil whenever he kisses me and avoid any potential physical encounters. I felt such overwhelming guilt that I hadn't provided a sibling for my daughter that we had sex once and conceived. Having said all that, he is a good man, we lead a comfortable life, with a nice house, financially okay. He is not the most involved father and can be rather selfish, but he's a good man overall, just a bit old fashioned and tends to put himself and his hobbies first, and can't take any kind of criticism. I just don't know what to do. I have thought about leaving for so long and have tried to broach the subject of not being happy with him, but I just can't bring myself to tell him that I'm not attracted to him any more, that there is no chemistry, and I can't bear the thought of disrupting my daughter so much when she's about to start school, and her having to be away from me for however many days/nights per week. I feel so lost and trapped. I feel I would be happier on my own but can't face destroying his life, but also can't imagine spending the next fifty-odd years in low-level unhappiness and unfulfillment. It's the old 'I love him but I'm not in love with him'. Have you made any decisions?

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