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Stay together for kids?

(36 Posts)
Miggins Fri 02-Nov-12 20:20:25

Should you stay with your DP if you no longer love him just for the sake of the children? We have a fabulous friendship and a happy family life but I feel no sexual attraction towards him and have not for many years. Should I just settle for this?

LonelyDad Fri 02-Nov-12 20:29:16

Hi - I guess I am facing a similar question, and I am going to be watching the responses that you get!
As far as I am concerned: I always thought so. Now I am not sure...

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Fri 02-Nov-12 20:36:56

It depends. It depends how important this is for you. How old you are you - both?

Miggins Fri 02-Nov-12 20:38:06


dementedma Fri 02-Nov-12 20:38:57

Same here. Dds are older but had a surprise late Ds who is 10 so yes, I stay for him

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 02-Nov-12 20:45:06

No to settling for this.

40 as well is not old; you could well both live for many years yet.

What do the two of you want to teach your children about relationships?. The long term implications have to be considered with regards to them; they will not thank either of you for staying with each other purely because of them and they could well find out. They are not and should not be potentially used as glue by either one or both of you to bind you together.

Staying together like this stops both of you from meeting potential new partners. Better to be apart and happier than to be together with either one or both of you miserable. What if you were still together and one of you met someone else?.

LonelyDad Fri 02-Nov-12 20:48:10

41. both of us.

LonelyDad Fri 02-Nov-12 20:52:09

i don't really know what i want. i want my daughter to be happy. and i want to be happy too. I want to remain married to my partner, but I don't want to be in limbo (see my other thread!) and I never ever even considered that I would feel like this, let alone seriously consider insitgating it.

HoolioHallio Fri 02-Nov-12 20:59:50

It's not 'settling' if you have a fantastic friendship and happy home life though ?
What do you think would happen if you left ? You'd meet some sexy bloke, have lots of sex and in five years time when the shine has worn off the sex, you'll want to move on again ?
What work have you done on your sex life? Does he feel the same as you do?

procrastinor Fri 02-Nov-12 21:04:32

Hmm. I have to say it depends. If you're unhappy then no, don't do it. Children need to be brought up by parents who aren't seething with resentment and bitterness. If however you just don't have that frisson of new sexual attraction but are otherwise happy then consider staying.

IMHO I think that popular culture implies that if a couple are right, then they should always have that same chemical attraction no matter how long they've been together. I think that's a load of hooey. Relationships are up and down and if you're essentially happy I wouldn't risk all that for the hope that you'd meet some guy that meet that unrealistic expectation.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Fri 02-Nov-12 21:18:37

I have just separated. It's been rough. We were under the same roof for eight months and I moved out nearly a fortnight ago.

Our relationship wasn't based on happy friendship and got more and more distant. But we still functioned really well together as parents to our wonderful children.

Dh didn't want to split under any circumstances. He is quite passive aggressive and I feared taking the step. That makes it sound as if I wasn't in the same position as you, and maybe I wasn't. But I did feel as if with work on both sides and maybe counselling we could have regained the friendship.

But would that have been enough? I honestly don't think so. Since dh and I agreed to separate, I had a fling with an unhappy man in a similar situation. Neither of us was in love with the other, but we were sexually compatible and enjoyed the intimacy that had been missing for both of us for so long.

It feels as if so much in society is so sexualised now, and sex is such a cheap, mechanistic thing in the 21st century. The brief relationship I had wasn't about that kind of sex - it wasn't goal oriented, scratching an itch. We didn't love each other, but it was nevertheless very powerful. We were both checking out of marriages that had been devoid of intimacy and connection for a long time and we came together at the same point. We didn't have porny, goal-oriented sex.

It was very close, affectionate and really magical. I found it a revelation to have this experience with someone with whom I had no deep emotional bond. Perhaps it was a product of our mutual 'starvation'. But nonetheless it made me realise that this is something I need.

I couldn't imagine being able to find that again with dh. We could have got everything else acceptable, but I found the idea of sexual intimacy with him abhorrent and couldn't see a way past that.

I feel ashamed to say it, but that was the single thing that tipped me from beating myself up about my relationship ending to realising that it was an inevitable thing that I had to follow through despite the consequences.

It's not as simple as destroying a family to pursue a sexual life. It's more that it made me realise that not being able to connect with another person physically, being able to enjoy affection, warmth, closeness, is a starvation that denies us as humans something essential to personal wellbeing. That's not to say that this trumps the security of the family unit, so I get the argument for staying in a relationship where everything works apart from sex.

But having had that experience, I felt more reconciled to my decision. I am living alone now, apart from when dc are with me and I feel so much more comfortable sleeping alone in my bed than sharing it with a familiar stranger, whose touch would repel me.

I'm not quite sure what I am trying to say here. I've had a few glasses of wine and am losing track a bit of my own train of thought.

Maybe the point is that sharing a bed with someone you don't want to reach out to, to get close to, to melt into is the most soul-destroying experience on the planet.

And the longer it goes on, the more you feel your soul shrink.

Whether that is a more important consideration than sticking to societal norms, maintaining a stable and conventional family unit - whether sacrificing personal needs and desires for the sake of others is the right way to live, I couldn't say.

I am still working it out for myself and it will take a while to to do this I think. What I know is that I couldn't do it any more. And I will have to see where I end up as a consequence.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Some people cope with this issue of losing sexual feelings for their partner by staying with that person and having relationships outside. If you can do this openly, both accepting the situation, this seems an acceptable solution. Though there are inherent risks, because enjoying sex with someone else makes you vulnerable to emotional involvement and inability to maintain the status quo.

Some people have 'outside' relationships secretly. This is I think, as soul-destroying as living in a sexless relationship is itself, because living with deceit and the guilt this entails is very damaging.

I would advise anyone in a relationship where any desire for sex with the partner has gone to consider carefully if this can be revived. Honestly, that is the ideal solution and should be pursued where at all possible.

Breaking up, especially when children are part of the equation, is absolutely horrible. Worse than I imagined and something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

You have to balance the horror of separation with your own needs and work out what is the right thing. It's very difficult, and there are many threads on here that testify to that.

Sorry, long rant, thinking aloud, but no answers.

I can only say that for myself, I couldn't face another forty years or so of life without feeling close to another person and the things I have done have confirmed this.

TooMuchRain Fri 02-Nov-12 21:19:40

I think it depends to what extent it is a mutual agreement - if one side doesn't know that is the deal then I think it is very unfair because they are missing out on time they could have with someone who really wants them.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Fri 02-Nov-12 21:19:46

Spent so long writing that I didn't see your answers to my earlier question. I am 41 too.

LonelyDad Fri 02-Nov-12 21:25:25

I am so taken with your post. i think you have touched something that i knew i felt. I have another thread (neglected by high flying wife) of rmy background. But, tired of waiting, thank you for what you said.

dementedma Fri 02-Nov-12 21:29:48

Great post, tired of waiting, so very true and insightful. Resonates with me so much

georgessand Fri 02-Nov-12 22:33:02

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange, well done for taking such a brave decision. I am in a similar situation to all of you except that I am the one in the receiving end. I don't have any kind of intimacy with my husband of 10 years. We haven't had sex in 3 years since our son was born. He can't bring himself to touch me although he has never said anything or gave me any reason. We have never had a fantastic sex life but we had what you would call a healthy relationship. he is 50 and I am 35 so I thought it's probably an age thing, maybe he's just losing sexual desire, which would have been fine with me if he had come forward, but he just ignores my feelings, has never discussed the subject, never worried that I might be attracted to someone else and I find that a lot more hurtful than the lack of physical intimacy. But I can't leave unfortunately because my son and I are so dependant on him. My son loves him to bits and I can't think of the damage it might cause him if I took him away from his dad. Our lives would just crumble. So I have made my choice, which is to bury my sexual life and be content with what I have, I can't even remember what it feels like to be intimate with someone so It's not like i'm craving sex or something smile but it's sad because on the surface we are the envy of our circle of friends...if only they knew...

ajmc67 Fri 02-Nov-12 22:35:55

Wow, fantastic post tiredofwaitingforitalltochange. I can fully identify with everything you've said. You put it brilliantly.

Couragedoesntroar Sat 03-Nov-12 07:04:59

Hear hear tiredofwaiting your post made me cry totally unexpectedly this morning. It was particularly the part about bring starved of intimacy and the power in reconnecting with it. I echo that OP and also that it's not about sex per se. I am separated as of a year ago and also had a powerful experience with someone that faced me with what I longed for & had forgotten in my marriage. But I am alone. And OP, make no mistake it is true that ending a marriage is excruciatingly painful & not to be done lightly. tired, do you get scared that you'll never find what you long for with someone else?

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sat 03-Nov-12 09:22:41

Courage yes I do. It's all very new being on my own. I don't like it much but I don't know if that's because it is new and strange or if it is because it doesn't suit me.

The short relationship I described happened after my marriage had ended. But prior to that, a few years ago, I had a profound emotional connection with someone, which also showed me 'what I was missing' only in a different way. There was no physical unfaithfulness or even disloyal things said but it was very involving and the outcome was devastating.

I feel broken at the moment and don't know how to fix myself. I have been unhappy for so long I've forgotten what it is like not to be. I'm bored of my own unhappiness.

The experience I described earlier in the thread was a positive one and the man and I remain friends. He flirts with me occasionally and sometimes suggests we become lovers again but I think I would prefer to leave that aspect of the relationship as the brief interlude it was rather than change it. It was important in helping me to reconnect with myself, being held and touched and kissed.

Having someone to be tactile with is very important. It doesn't have to be sexual at all - there's nothing more nourishing to the spirit than snuggling up with a baby or a young child, smelling their hair, feeling their warmth.

My children are past the cuddly stage now though and I hope that one day I will find someone to be affectionate with. It's not even mostly about sex, what really makes me catch my breath in pain in when I see couples who are happy and at ease with each other, and touch each other casually. When you lose your sex life with your partner you nearly always lose being physically at ease like that, it becomes so sterile and the physical isolation is very painful.

I hope I won't always be on my own, but for the moment I think I need to be, to make sense of how the most important relationship of my life - except the one I have with my children - ended up being destroyed.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sat 03-Nov-12 09:24:21

Sorry for hijacking. I'm incapable of answering a question with a short answer, must be more succinct.

OpheliaPayneAgain Sat 03-Nov-12 09:31:22

What do the two of you want to teach your children about relationships?.

One would hope that you dont teach them that relationships are disposable as soon as one partner gets bored.

If the relationship is basically good, with mutual respect and no abuse within, then look at ways of salvaging it.

mamhaf Sat 03-Nov-12 09:39:28

Children are always damaged by break-ups and I think there's a modern tendency for couples not to work hard enough at revitalising what they have.

The shine goes off any relationship after a while, and (unless there is abuse or unacceptable behaviour that cannot be resolved) it needs work by both partners to keep the relationship alive - and that can be done.

There's a lot to be said for friendship, love and companionship and not wrecking the lives of the children you've brought into the world.

Couragedoesntroar Sat 03-Nov-12 09:48:01

I don't think you hijacked the thread tired, because this is what OP and others are facing up to. Underneath their uncertainty is that pain and fear which is what they're safe from - for now - whilst they stay in their relationships.

I feel wounded and alone too. I want something else that I don't yet have. But I am grateful I'm away from a stultifying marriage now rather than in 10 years (I'm 37). I do not miss STBXH at all but I miss the sense of safety it brought. I guess that's your choice now OP. Both possibilities are a compromise and carry their own losses and risks.

MoomieAndFreddie Sat 03-Nov-12 09:49:00

No, no, no

but life is too bloody short

take it from me. i have been there. its shit, soul destroying and no good for anyone - Especially the children as they WILL pic up on it if their mum and dad are unhappy.

I am now blissfully re married with another DC, to a man who was also stuck in a loveless marriage, and both of us still can't believe our luck in finding eachother, and finally being happy with someone, after the shit relationships we were in before.

Couragedoesntroar Sat 03-Nov-12 09:51:19

IMHO I do not think kids are necessarily damaged by break ups if they're done respectfully. Kids are damaged by conflict within or outside an intact marriage. They are damaged by unhappy parents.

That said I also think it is worth working on a marriage very definitely if there is any love and willingness left.

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