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Is this normal?

(30 Posts)
Objection Thu 20-Feb-14 09:18:34

I've been living with OH for just over 3 and a half years.
I love him a lot and find him attractive (most of the time) but recently I have hated him touching me; not just sex but even kissing or holding hands. It's made me feel really confined and uncomfortable, especially kissing, and I can tell it hurts his feelings (he's a very touchy loved up bloke).
This happens fairly frequently and lasts about a month or so sad

I generally live quite a stressful life anyway, working 60+ hour weeks but things have been particularly stressful at the moment as I'm having to interview for my own job (temp contract) against external candidates.

I feel really really guilty and am starting to think he deserves someone who actually wants contact with him instead of cringing away.

Is this normal or is there something wrong with me or even our relationship?

I'm 22 btw and OH is 27.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 09:40:33

Intimacy... because that's what I think you're talking about... requires relaxation IME. If you are not relaxed, someone touching you intimately can feel intrusive rather than pleasurable. If 'touchy loved up' means he keeps trying to touch you, even though you've said no, then this can add to the stress.

Having said that, if you can't even bear to hold his hand - an affectionate rather than intimate thing to do - that doesn't sound normal for a loving relationship. Do you believe that, if you hold his hand, he'll interpret it as a green light for sex?

Logg1e Thu 20-Feb-14 10:08:38

I was wondering what Cogito is saying. Do his attentions feel like just another demand on you? On top of all of the other demands?

Have you spoken to him about this?

Objection Thu 20-Feb-14 10:25:52

I'm not generally a touchy feel person anyway; it's a personal space thing. A lot of his touching is an attention/affection thing rather than sexual.
He touches me A LOT almost all of the time. It makes me feel very trapped I guess and sometimes quite irritated blush and then guilty because I know he just wants some attention sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 10:30:31

What you're saying sounds like a fairly fundamental incompatibility. i.e. He is tactile and you aren't. Early days of a relationship you might be able to overlook something like this but eventually - and I think that's what's happening - it becomes a source of irritation and ultimately resentment. Never feel guilty for being yourself. It is as valid for you to want personal space as it is for him to want physical expression. Neither of you are the bad guy here. However, if you can't find a happy compromise, the relationship has no future.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 20-Feb-14 10:33:24

I don't really have any advice except to say that from my perspective you are really, really young to be living with someone for 3 1/2 years. Do you ever get the urge to just be single or live by yourself?

Objection Thu 20-Feb-14 10:41:06

We've just bought a house (Nov last year) so it's a bit late for me to get cold feet but yes, I often fantasise about living by myself. Not because of OH though!
My best friend is about to go travelling for a few years and, whilst that wouldn't be my thing, im very envious of the freedom.
I'm also proud of our stability and security so it's swings and roundabouts really.

MillyBlods Thu 20-Feb-14 10:45:49

I understand you feeling " proud " but agree with the other poster. You are very young and have not had the freedom that you seem to be now craving.

Logg1e Thu 20-Feb-14 10:47:03

It's not too late. I was in a similar relationship (similar ages, age gap etc although I was a bit younger) and it finished after about 3 years.

I used to think it was sad that our relationship ended, but had happy memories. Now I'm bloody relieved it came to an end. It's an age when so much changes - you, your lifestyle, your financial situation etc. I couldn't imagine still being with him and missing out on all of the experiences I had when we split, never mind the thought of being with him and not my partner and the father of my children.

Please don't stay with him just because you have a house together!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 10:47:17

Just because you've bought a house with someone, it doesn't mean you have to kiss goodbye to your dreams. At 22 with no children you should feel as free as anyone else. Is there a special reason why you craved stability and security so much that you settled down age 18/19? Bad childhood or something like that?

Objection Thu 20-Feb-14 10:55:38

My Mum and Dad divorced when I was one and I had very very little contact with him as a child because he often couldn't be bothered to come and see me and always priortised work. I probably saw him 2 or 3 times a year.
I cut him off when I was 20 in the end because he is such a nasty piece of work.
My mum remarried when I was 13 (she'd been with him from when I was 9) and my step dad hated me and was abusive throughout my childhood too. He treats my half brother (born when I was 12) and half sister (born when I was 16) a LOT better. I left home at 17 and would have done it A LOT earlier if I could.

If we're going for a psycho-analysis, I imagine that is significant? grin

I do love my OH though, I'm not just in it for the house. We have similar dreams and ambitions and he's the only person I feel comfortable with to talk to etc.

Objection Thu 20-Feb-14 11:02:04

Oh, I'm also supporting OH financially at the moment as he finally plucked up the courage to quit his job (he was being bullied and used by the management) and have been doing for the past 3-4 weeks.
When you consider that I may not have my main job after next week then that probably has A LOT to do with it!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 11:02:32

Yes it's significant. You wouldn't be the first young woman who attached herself to the first nice (older) guy that came along as a way of getting out of a tough home-life and in pursuit of stability and security. You'll also be determined to make your relationship work at any price because you'll want to demonstrate that you can succeed where your parents and others have failed. I'm glad you have similar dreams and ambitions as your partner but make sure that you understand your motivations.

Objection Thu 20-Feb-14 12:36:38

I genuinely want to be with my OH though, it makes me very sad and anxious to think of splitting - I can't imagine being without him to be honest.
I think breaking up with him just because we're young would be just as a ridiculous thing to do then if we were in a situation where we were together for security?

Plus, I wouldn't describe him as older smile we're about equal in age actually I'm more mature but there you go

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 12:44:37

I'm not saying to break up with him because you're young. But your original problem of not wanting to be intimate for long periods could be symptomatic that not all in the garden is rosy and I'm just suggesting that you understand how you reached this point. It is possible - and I'm projecting a little from my own experience - to persist in thinking you are with 'the one' even though it's not working so well simply because you're benchmarking it against some very poor examples. Worse is then to end up sleepwalking into mortgages, marriages, children etc with good intentions but for the wrong reasons.

Have you ever thought about counselling for what sounds like a traumatic childhood?

MillyBlods Thu 20-Feb-14 12:46:32

I don't think you should break up because your young at all. You are the one who seems to be feeling a loss of independence re thinking about living on your own and envying your friend. smile
At your age it's natural to have feelings of wanting to find out more about yourself and your place in the world. You also have a lot on your shoulders at tge moment financially. It could be that as your relationship is un balanced at the moment as he is not working that you feel resentful on some level and his naturally wanting attention is pushing you further away. If you know you love him and don't want to leave him then maybe you are just going through a rough patch.

MadBusLady Thu 20-Feb-14 13:21:34

Breakups are sad and anxiety-inducing, that is part of the adult condition. Not saying you should break up with him, just try not to let non-reasons like that get in the way if you do start to get a clearer signal from your gut about it.The challenge - particularly for people with difficult childhoods - is to understand that even while it hurts and feels like everything has fallen apart, actually the world doesn't end, no-one dies, and there will be a day when you are happy and in clover again.

I very much doubt he's the only person you could ever feel comfortable with. He might be the only person you've met so far that you feel comfortable with - six years into adulthood, 3.5 of which you've spent with him! There are plenty of men you could have exactly that level of comfort in spending time with and talking to.

ImperialBlether Thu 20-Feb-14 13:24:52

OP, 22 is VERY different from 27. A five year gap might not seem much but think how much you've grown up since you were 17.

Objection Thu 20-Feb-14 13:30:40

Thank you for everyone's responses so far, i appreciate it.
It makes me very worried that it appears to be a fundamental relationship issue on the face of things rather than my own issues.
I was mildly reluctant to post my age as I thought it may skew people's answers.
I know it is a very typical "immature" thing to say (and I always roll my eyes inside when I see similar phrases on MN) but I'm not a typical 22 year old at all.
Everyone at work seems to think I'm 28 or over (which I can't work out if thats insulting or not!)

Logg1e Thu 20-Feb-14 13:42:14

I don't think that you've come across as immature at all.

It seems to me that you really, really need to address your feelings about intimacy and physical affection, for both your sakes. Would you consider counselling?

MadBusLady Thu 20-Feb-14 13:47:35

I suppose the question is what do you want to happen? If you envisage the exact same relationship as now (same future, same amount of sex etc) but with much less day to day touchy-feeliness, is that the ideal? Or is the ideal where you actually want to kiss him, hold his hand etc again?

MadBusLady Thu 20-Feb-14 13:48:34

I don't think you come across as immature either, I hope my post didn't read like that. I do think though that there are certain emotional truths it's hard to truly internalise without having been through them, which is not the same as immaturity.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 14:13:09

I don't think you're immature in the slightest. However your age is important simply because your life experience (not your maturity) is limited and your role models have been poor. You've plunged straight into home ownership, LTR and jobs and so forth when other people the same age might still be on gap years or just kicking back and having fun. There is nothing wrong with being driven & ambitious or in wanting stability, success and security. Just be aware of where the drive comes from and that there are pitfalls.

Objection Thu 20-Feb-14 14:27:58

Thank you again. Its such a relief to have some constructive advice. I only have a handful of close friends and they live a long way away now so OH is the only person I can talk to usually!

I am more than happy with our relationship as it is, there was a time when I wasn't but things are much much better now, I just don't want to be failing as a girlfriend and I don't want OH to be suffering from my own issues - does that make sense? My big problem at the moment is feeling guilty because I don't seem to be giving him the attention/affection he wants/needs.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 14:41:43

Please listen carefully. It is not your responsibility to please your partner. That's not the definition of a 'good girlfriend' or a 'good wife' but a lot of people who have experienced bad adult relationships growing up make the mistake of thinking it is.

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