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Is this just the end of the honeymoon period?

(14 Posts)
jammygem Sun 30-Mar-14 22:03:15

Sorry, long post ahead.

I've been with my OH for 4 years, we moved in together officially 2 years ago (although due to his crappy living arrangements he'd been staying with me for a lot longer), no DC involved. When we first got together I was suffering from extreme depression and PTSD, which he has supported me with. I'm now doing a lot better, mainly thanks to his support.

Lately things seem to have been very different. I think most of it is because I'm recovering from all of my mental health issues, so am now much more independent and able to think beyond how I'm going to get out of the house or how I'm going to reach the end of the day. The first couple of years together we were completely inseparable (we were one of those couples), gradually realised how unhealthy that was, and started to do more things without each other. Now it's gone completely the other way, and when we both get home from work we have dinner together and that's it. Because of both working shifts, we rarely have time off together and usually one of us has a really early start whilst the other is working late, so we very rarely even go to bed at the same time.

We both talk about our future, and about one day getting married and starting a family, but he doesn't seem to actively think about the future. Whilst I have a "life plan" blush with where I want to go with my career and where I see myself in 5/10/20 years time, OH is quite happy to just go along with wherever life takes him. I'm here climbing the career ladder, starting to save for a mortgage deposit, etc., and he;s very much living the student lifestyle still. I managed to pull some strings at my workplace and have got him a job working in my team (he did apply for it himself without my input, before anyone accuses me of interfering) which will be much better hours and pay than what he's currently earning, but now I'm worried that it was a bad decision.

Our sex life is pretty much non-existent. OH claims he's never enjoyed sex and while I try not to take it personally, it's difficult. I feel so guilty because I've started eyeing up other men (not that I would ever do anything) and feel more able to admit that I find others attractive, which I never would have dreamt of doing last year.

I feel guilty because I kind of feel like he's helped me to get better and now I'm throwing it in his face by being more confident, but I don't know if my confidence is at a healthy level or if I am just being horrible to him.

I don't know whether all of these changes are just due to the whole "honeymoon period" ending. My previous and only other relationship was a very abusive one, and I don't have any experience of a "normal" relationship, so I don't know if all of this is normal?

I'm sorry, I've just rambled lots really, but I'm so confused and worried about this.

HoneyandRum Sun 30-Mar-14 22:23:29

It sounds to me like you have grown apart and there is not enough to sustain this relationship. No sex and no desire for it does not bode well. I have been married almost 18 years and never had such a distance in our relationship as you describe (or close to it). Also I remember reading/hearing that happily married couples are matched on ambition(s) so they ultimately are pulling together. It sounds like your ambitions (or "life plans") don't match. I think you made a mistake helping him get a job with you - don't know what the solution to that will be.

jammygem Sun 30-Mar-14 22:55:37

I just feel like such a shit person if this is the end of our relationship.

He encouraged me and supported me and put up with a lot just to try to help me, and when I do start getting better I repay him by becoming confident enough to do my own thing and make us drift apart. I feel so so guilty

cottonwoolmum Sun 30-Mar-14 23:06:26

How would it be you single handedly drifting apart? You got him a job at your work. That doesn't suggest active drift away.

His lack of life plan doesn't have to be a problem or make you incompatible, but if you did want to stay together, maybe it would be worth aiming to make short term plans - what to do at the weekend, etc so you have stuff to actively look forward to and participate in together, rather than just bumbling along.

I'd be far more concerned about his lack of interest in sex. Could be a reason he was attracted to someone in a very fragile way in the first place - he wouldn't have to deal with a partner who made physical demands he couldn't meet?

You can still feel loyal to him as a person who helped you through a very tough time, without staying together. You could become close friends. Sounds like he wouldn't miss the physical side of things. Or you could become a work mentor. Show him how much you appreciate his importance in your life, but don't stay with him just for that if you have grown apart.

Bogeyface Sun 30-Mar-14 23:10:22

You could go with the guilt, but I dont see how that will benefit either of you.

Or you could look at it in a more philosophical way, which is that people come into our lives for a reason and his was to help you through that bad time. Would it be better for him for you stay with him when you dont really love him, dont want to be with him and feel no desire for him? Doesnt he deserve someone who will truly love him? You have sex but he doesnt enjoy it, that indicates to me that he isnt entirely happy either.

Sometimes people forget that a break up frees 2 people, not just 1.

Kundry Sun 30-Mar-14 23:48:36

You got together when you were very ill and needed a lot of support. Obviously you feel strongly towards him as he was so supportive at that time.

However it's not unusual for people to grow apart when their mental or physical health problems improve - you developed and changed as a person in a way that he has not. You are doing brilliantly but he hasn't done the same psychological work as you and may be stuck in the past.

Being very cynical he may have been attracted to the old more needy and vulnerable you than the new positive and independent you. Where does he get his validation from now you can manage by himself without depending on him 24/7? It's a sad thing to see a partner who preferred the broken partner to the fixed one but it happens, it's not your fault and if you need to leave him you shouldn't feel guilty.

jammygem Sun 30-Mar-14 23:54:41

Bogeyface Thing is, I do love him, and I do want to be with him. He really is the kindest, sweetest person I've ever met, and without making everyone feel ill, I love him so much that sometimes it feels like I'm going to explode. That's why it scares me so much that things have changed in the last 6 months or so.

I just never even looked at other blokes before. It's not that I want him any less, more that suddenly I feel comfortable being able to admit that I find someone else attractive (I think it may be a hang up from my ex, who once laid into me for commenting that a famous actor had pretty eyes)

He's always been honest with me that he doesn't enjoy sex, right from before we even got together. Like I said in my OP, I know it's not personal, but it still hurts that he has no sexual desire for anyone, not even me.

Bogeyface Mon 31-Mar-14 00:10:38

OK so he is what...asexual? Thats fine, good for him. But its not ok if you are in a relationship with another person who isnt of the same sexuality, its like gay men who get married and yet still have gay sex because they cant hide their true self, its cheating the wife and the gay man. He is saying "I dont like sex, I have no desire, but I will do it because you want me to" That would make anyone feel like shit!

There are several dating sites for people looking for platonic/asexual relationships and he could find someone who is more suited to him. Meanwhile you could find somone who you love just as much (if not more, I have always felt that physical and emotional love compliment each other) and can give you the things you need from a relationship in a mutual way.

But please dont let guilt make you stay in a relationship that doesnt fulfill you, it wont work and you will both have wasted years trying.

HoneyandRum Mon 31-Mar-14 03:20:23

You're describing a loving relationship - one that has helped bring you healing but not one that has all the elements for a successful partnership in a long term marriage. You have mentioned your abusive relationship with a previous partner, this current caring man has helped you understand what a loving relationship should be like emotionally. But you describe qualities that are like more of a parental figure than an equal relationship of partners. As someone has mentioned, it could be more of the case that you were non-threatening and needy and your relationship has to be able to develop in a new way now that you are stronger and have more confidence. Otherwise you are with him because you feel sorry for him rather than can build a marriage together. You are grateful to him but you could grow to resent him if you stay together for the wrong reasons.

It sounds like you went through a very co-dependent phase in your relationship and now you have outgrown that.

badbaldingballerina123 Mon 31-Mar-14 10:43:52

It sounds like this was a transitional relationship . As others say , it's helped you heal , and probably it's helped him in many ways too. You have to ask yourself if you can seriously spend the rest of your life in a sexless marriage. If it's a problem now , it's only going to be worse in ten years.

Lovingfreedom Mon 31-Mar-14 10:48:45

He's had an ok deal out if it too. He got a place to stay and you got him a job. If the relationship is no longer working for you you are kinder to yourself and him (longer term) to move on.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 31-Mar-14 11:25:03

I agree about transitional relationships and that this has probably run its course. If the thing that you had in common was a crisis and the crisis has now passed, you're now able to see what's left. If it's nothing very substantial you're not honour-bound to stay with him just because he was kind in the past.

badbaldingballerina123 Mon 31-Mar-14 11:36:08

Op I'm concerned you feel guilty and like a shit person for feeling the way you do. You don't owe anyone a continuing relationship and you don't need to justify the way you feel. Would he be willing to get therapy for his lack of sex drive ? Has he ruled out medical issues such as low testosterone ?
Does he never masturbate , or does he still try to please you sexually ?

Asking someone to get married when there's no sex life is a big ask.

struggling100 Mon 31-Mar-14 11:47:00

OP, do you mind me asking how old you are? You sound quite young. Please don't take that the wrong way: I don't mean 'You sound immature' (quite the reverse)! It's more that the dilemmas you describe sound like those of a young couple who were great together as students but maybe have grown apart as the pressures of work and life get larger towards the mid/late 20s.

It sounds to me like you're falling out of love with this guy. You have direction, focus in your career, and a healthy appetite for sex and fun outside of work - while he has neither. My guess is that as responsibilities grow, you'll find yourself doing more and more of the 'life stuff' and getting increasingly frustrated with him for his student lifestyle.

I think you feel unnecessarily guilty about this because you've had some support from him through a period where you had mental health issues. The worst thing you could do, however, would be to avoid confronting this because you feel like you 'owe him'. Go down that road, and you're on the way to frustration, and possibly even an affair. It's healthier to confront the problem head-on, talk about things with him, and maybe make an amicable decision to end things there if that suits you both.

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