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I have no idea what I am going to do

(15 Posts)
Alwaysthenorth Sun 28-Aug-11 09:19:00

I married my husband 7 years ago though we have been together 14. To sum up my post - I married with my head not my heart. My husband is a good man who I knew would treat me well and be a good father. We have 2 lovely children - a 3 and a 5 year old.

Throughout our relationship I had doubts about whether I truly loved him but continued with the relationship because I thought that the spark and passion in relationships always die down anyway.

When I look back, I never felt 'right' at points when I should have. When I got engaged, our wedding day etc.

About a month ago I told him I didn't want to have sex anymore as I felt like I was servicing him. As usual - he reacted as mr reasonable - saying he was sorry and didnt want to do anything if it made me feel that way Rather than feeling relieved after I told him this, I knew it would make things worse. Because I can't pretend anymore that we are ok.

To me counselling would be pointless as not wanting to have sex is just a symptom of my deeper feelings and how can I possibly tell him what those are ? This is a guy who is genuine, kind, honest - a great father. I feel incredibly guilty and absolutely trapped. To even think about him not living with his children - I know he would be devastated.

Not that this is an excuse but I come from a family where love and affection was scarce. Both parents used to hit me and rarely showed me any affection. Perhaps this is why I find myself in this situation ? I just don't know what to do.

Greenwing Sun 28-Aug-11 10:54:07

Poor you. However, I think it is always worth going to counselling, as you will be in a relationship with him - as parents of your children - for the rest of your lives, whether you are together as a couple or not.

As he is a good man, husband and father, does 'not loving' him mean not finding him sexually attractive? Was your sex life ever satisfying?
You also mention that affection was scarce in your childhood. Has he been physically affectionate to you?

I am sure that many people are married to partners whom they do not 'love' in a hugely romantic way but with whom they have a solid, friendly relationship which is a good basis for a normal life and stability for their children. Have you got to the stage where you feel that you cannot carry on doing that? Have you met, or had feelings for, somebody else perhaps?

You seem to assume that if you split up he will be the one to live without his children? What if it was you who left him and had to live without them? If you would rather carry on in the relationship than do that, it seems unfair to expect him to be the one to live alone.

Definitely try counselling, even by yourself if necessary, and sexual counselling perhaps to try to regain some intimacy?

Good luck.

Alwaysthenorth Sun 28-Aug-11 12:46:37

Thanks greenwing. I've never been particularly bothered about sex and could certainly live without it. I don't find him attractive and only had sex because it was important to him. He isn't hugely affectionate and I often felt if I was receptive to his affection it might lead to sex - which I wasn't bothered about.

I don't have feelings for anyone else. I just don't see how we can stay in a relationship with no sex as I know it is important to him no matter what he says. He does annoy me somewhat - as I'm sure I annoy him in some ways but not to the point we are always arguing.

He has never been emotionally open and I have never felt a strong emotional connection to him as I did with a previous partner.

I dont know if a good solid friendly relationship is enough for me to live with him for essentially the next 20 years ? I have been thinking about how I would feel living alone but that is almost too much to think about as we just bought a bigger house which needs renovating and had previously been on the Market a long time.

You can probably tell from my post that my thoughts are all over the place.

I am a very black and White person and not knowing how I feel or what to do is very difficult for me.

The counselling to improve intimacy suggestion - I know in my heart that the reason I don't want sex is because I am not sure of my feelings for him so I dint know how helpful that would be.

DoMeDon Sun 28-Aug-11 12:57:02

If you have never been bothered about sex how can you be so sure you don't want it because of your feelings towards him? Maybe you just cannot cope with the intimacy of it all as you have not had 'normal' relationships to base your feelings on.

I strongly believe that if you come from a place of difficulty/unhappiness/restricted affection that you will self-sabotage when given love/affection and kindness. As if it is too much to bear the kindness shown.

You will have little self worth if you have been treated badly during childhood. Those who think they are worth nothing cannot handle being treated as important. I think you have sought out somoene who can give you the kind of life you want but cannot deal with it now you have it. Just IMO based on a few words on a screen, but maybe there is something you identify with.

I ALWAYS advocate counselling - if nothing else it will help you deal with your feelings appropraitely and kindly - giving you both answers, whatever the outcome.

garlicnutter Sun 28-Aug-11 12:58:42

Hi, Always. While I think Greenwing's reply is measured and sensible, I disagree. All this is about rationalising your dissatisfaction, which you've already been doing for 14 years. If we could all amend our emotions using logic, the world would be a very different place.

Of course it's unfair on your family to split up because you feel wrong. It's also unfair on everyone to keep going in a deteriorating relationship. An unhappy mother makes for distressed children, no matter how you dress it up.

You might benefit from counselling on your own, if you're not yet sure enough of your feelings to act on them. If you are sure, then Relate might be a very good idea for you as a couple - they don't just help to fix relationships, they also help to break them up as compassionately as possible.

You must be feeling very sad. I don't think you should ignore yourself, as it were, for too much longer. It will make you ill eventually.

garlicnutter Sun 28-Aug-11 13:08:46

I strongly believe that if you come from a place of difficulty/unhappiness/restricted affection that you will self-sabotage when given love/affection and kindness. As if it is too much to bear the kindness shown.

I see what you mean, DMD, but disagree with you as well. I experienced real kindness for the first time when I was in hospital - in my forties. Rather than shying away from it, I had a massive lightbulb moment (more like a lightning bolt, actually!) as I realised that what I'd accepted as kindness, until then, had been a lazy sham. I'd accepted it as kindness - and counted myself ungrateful - because I knew no better.

I strongly believe, now, that our inner selves know what's right and good, despite whatever adverse conditioning has been laid over this knowledge. It's a matter of respecting your inner 'voice' enough to hear it.

scaredlady Sun 28-Aug-11 13:28:53

Alwaysthenorth, you could be me. My husband too is a good man, bit undemonstrative. I've been with him 14 years. He's a fantastic father and our (2) kids are everything to him.

No sex with him, except once or twice when I've had to be drunk, for about four years. Married for 12. Did Relate but it didn't help much.

I can't face carrying on like this or leaving either. Don't want to break up the family. But feel I am dying inside. He knows how I feel but wants to keep the family unit.

Big difference from you is that I am really craving some sex and feel incomplete and unfulfilled without it.

My mother was emotionally distant, critical and kind of kept me at arm's length.

Not sure if I can give you any advice, just wanted to say, you're not the only one.

Alwaysthenorth Sun 28-Aug-11 17:22:03

Thanks to you all for your thoughts and kindness. As you can imagine it is very hard to find people to talk to who know us both as everyone knows what he is like. I feel afraid to tell my mother as she can be quite selfish and may encourage me to split and move back to my home town because she would then be able to see her grandchildren more.

Lots of our friends are 'joint' friends and sadly as I live away from my home town most of my friends have only known me since we met after having kids - so I feel quite alone.

The differences in your advice are the problems I have been wrestling with myself. Staying offers security for my children and part of me - but like you scaredlady, I feel very sad inside. These feelings have become unmanageable since telling him about not wanting sex, but also as I've had lots more time to think with my dd being on school holidays and having some time off wirk I've noticed the feelings surface during holidays in the past too.

This thing about having a new house is a big practical concern for me. We don't have any family close by - nowhere for me to go. If I wanted to leave with the kids we would have to sell the house to even afford to rent somewhere. Every day around me I see all the work that needs doing to the house and all the decisions I have to make about decorating etc and it is making me feel under even more pressure to make a decision. The kids are getting older too and more likely to be hurt and affected if I do decide to leave.

I just don't want to be responsible for his happiness and quite clearly I am. It is a responsibility I can't handle.

Scaredlady - I feel for you. I really do.

GloriaVanderbilt Sun 28-Aug-11 17:25:41

i haven't read all, just the OP.

I wondered if you just are unable to feel those 'right' feelings yet, because of the way you grew up, therefore you wouldn't really feel them about anyone?

Maybe it's nothing to do with your husband not being right for you but more a case of you just not being able to feel it?

Sorry I hope that makes sense...you sound a bit like me

GloriaVanderbilt Sun 28-Aug-11 17:26:29

Maybe some counselling would be really useful to you, on your own? Don't feel you need to act immediately. Give yourself a chance to figure out some stuff that's going on inside you.

Alwaysthenorth Sun 28-Aug-11 19:12:23

I've had counselling a couple of times before and it didn't really help. Before I met my husband I had a year long relationship with someone I adored and he smashed my heart to smithereens. Twice. I feel very badly burned by trusting my heart. I dont feel I could trust myself to get into 'the right' relationship again.

I dont consider myself a strong person and sometimes when I imagine myself living apart from him I don't know if I could cope. I can't even tryst myself to make a good judgement about what is right for me. Perhaps it's a case of the grass is always greener ? I lurch from thinking I could live with him but not have a 'full' relationship to thinking I genuinely don't know if I could.

Right now I can't see a way forward.

FabbyChic Sun 28-Aug-11 19:28:13

Its mean to stay with someone you don't love, don't you think they deserve to be with someone who loves them? I do.

GloriaVanderbilt Sun 28-Aug-11 19:38:16

I think it sounds as though you're just not in a position to have a healthy relationship right now.

That is probably nothing to do with him and everything to do with you - not that you are to blame, but just you probably need to work out some things within yourself in order to get to a point where you can see and feel clearly.

It doesn't sound like you ever have.
I know how this feels. It's Ok. you've done nothing wrong, but you need to share these feelings with your husband, tell him you are struggling and think you need to get yourself together.

You might risk hurting his feelings but if you emphasise how much he means to you, and that you're having difficulty yourself in knowing what your feelings are all about, he may well recognise this as the crisis it is, and not go running off.

You really do need to talk this over with a professional if you possibly can. Otherwise you're at risk of destroying a marriage which you've said is pretty good in many ways, and you might discover that you do actually want to keep it.

Don''t burn any bridges just yet.

Alwaysthenorth Sun 28-Aug-11 19:54:47

Thanks Gloria. He knows I'm struggling. I have tried telling him how I feel in part. I will think about all the helpful advice offered some more and try and find a way through this.

GloriaVanderbilt Mon 29-Aug-11 09:27:02

I'm sorry not to be more use. I'm responding in part because years ago I was going out with a really sorted, very good guy whom I just could not love.

I was only 18-20 ish but I absolutely ruined things with my own projection...I was convinced it was all wrong, couldn't possibly work, because though he excited me and interested me and I thought he was the greatest person on earth, I couldn't find that part of my feelings that said 'this is right'. So I messed him about, telling him I loved him, then that I couldn't, and all the many thoughts I had and feelings I had about how maybe I didn't want to be with someone who looked like him, or dressed like him, or we didn't share the same love of certain music so perhaps we shouldn't be together.

I was in a right state...mainly though I just couldn't reconcile someone like ME being with someone so perfect as HIM, because it put me into striking contrast against his beauty. I felt ugly the whole time. He loved me. I regret breaking his heart constantly.

I've never ever met anyone as good again. Sure I've realised how imperfect he was too, now, and how I am still a valid person in my own right, despite not being the same as him...in short I've grown up a bit.

But had I been able to see the wood for the trees back then I'd have behaved a whole lot better, less focused on how wrong 'it' felt as it wasn't 'it' at all, it was purely my own disastrous set of emotions I was going through that was wrong.

I did love him and still do in part though this is 20 years ago now. We were great. But at the time I was in a maelstrom of hopelessness.

My upbringing was fairly dysfunctional too so of course meeting someone who wasn't in that boat was like talking a foreign language.

I hope you get through this. Not sure if this helps in any way but that's my perspective and experience fwiw smile

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