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NO sexual attraction or intimacy in long-term relationship - really stuck about what to do(7 Posts)
Have name-changed for all the usual reasons. I usually lurk but don't post very much but I am now in a bit of a bind.
I have been with my partner for 10 years and we have a 5 year old daughter. We are in our forties. Our situation is pretty dire. For the last 3 or 4 years we have been existing as parents only and there has been no sexual intimacy whatsoever. It's come to the point now where I really want to make a decision about whether to leave the relationship or suggest to my partner that we really and truly make an effort to introduce intimacy back into our relationship and stop living like flat-mates who are parenting a child together. I know that he is equally torn. We are heartbroken at the thought of our daughter not living with her Dad (although I must stress that is NOT the only reason we are torn).
I/we feel utterly sad about the whole situation. I do love him very much on many levels. The trouble is we both are not sexually attracted to each other any more. I often want to cuddle him and be close in that way and, objectively (and perhaps paradoxically), I do still find him physically attractive, but we are both not interested in actually kissing and having sex.
It goes deeper than superficial attraction though and I would even go as far as to say that I sometimes have feelings of contempt for my partner (I hate this) and often feel annoyed by the things he says and does.
I don't feel emotionally and sexually fulfilled and neither does he.
When we first got together we did have a good sex life.
I guess my question is - has anyone managed to go from a similarly extreme situation to then being able to move into being intimate and loving/sexual with their partner again? If we choose to separate am I/we just being lazy and have not put the effort required in to making the relationship work? Is a less extreme version of this the norm in most long-term relationships?
Have you thought of having your hormone levels checked? Thinking of hormone problems like underactive thyroid, or lack of testosterone. The problem could be just physical.
It should never be an effort to be close to a partner. They're meant to be the person you love and connect with better than anyone else. So it shouldn't require 'work' in the grim PITA sense - it should be pleasant. That said, in a long term relationship, it's easy to get lazy, prioritise other things, neglect each other or take each other for granted. Sometimes conscious intervention is necessary
So if you're both committed to rediscovering intimacy and are both prepared to potentially make changes, the you might consider couples counselling as a first step.
It was an effort for me to be intimate and still is sometimes, but then that's down to my past, not so much a true reflection of the present...except after the birth of our daughter, but then that's common.
I never felt contempt for my DH though, we always felt emotionally connected too but just got a bit lost along the way sometimes.
I think the first step is for you both to have a frank a full discussion about whether you want to regain intimacy and if you both are, what you are prepared to change in yourselves and what effort you are prepared to invest to try to change things.
It's not a forgone conclusion that you both what want to change things.
I think it's common to stop viewing your partner as your lover after children - often based on your view of your parents relationship, which would have appeared to be sexless on the surface. I also think there is so much potential in re-kindling the sexual side versus starting with someone else. One of you has to be confident and assertive to start the conversation, without recrimination or negativity. Sometimes just going through the motions (i.e. regular sex) is enough to jump start those old, buried emotions. Less talking, more doing...what have you got to lose by being bolder..? If you bail, you are not being lazy....but you are being short sighted. IMHO.
Thank you for your responses. Some useful things mentioned.
I have had my thyroid levels checked before (but not in relation to sex drive) and they came back "normal". One thing that I should have mentioned in my original post is that although my sex drive is fairly low at the moment (in what I presume is in a "if you don't use it you lose it" way) I do still masturbate from time to time.
I am going to instigate a chat with my partner about how much we are both prepared to do something about this situation.
Jack - I think you're right - I think I'm going to suggest that we try to start having sex (we could almost say as an experiment) more regularly and see where it leads. I really do think that being out of the loop (so to speak) with sex really does decrease your sex drive even further.
Thanks again for your comments.
Be careful that you don't end up the one taking all the initiative and making all the suggestions. Pose the question..... 'what do you think we could do to improve things?' ... as well as offering ideas. Intimacy has to be a two way street
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