Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
The old 'lack of intimacy' thing again(62 Posts)
I've been with my partner for five years. We don't live together, no children, only see each other maybe once every ten days. He is a kind, lovely man who gets on very well with my adult children and I am sure he'd be horrified to know I felt so bloody angry with him...He WILL NOT engage with me physically, in any way, shape or form, to the extent of recoiling if I go to kiss him. No hand holding/sitting next to/snuggling up/kissing/hugging. But he still wants sex - after which we have to leap apart.
We don't have the best communication, if I try to raise issues he goes very quiet and acts all hurt, but, tbh, I rarely try now. We hardly ever talk at all, in fact, most of our time together is spent in front of the TV (and I bloody hate watching TV, but it stops us having to talk...). We got together very quickly after my marriage broke up, but he was affectionate at the start and used to hold my hand and everything. Now, when we go out for a walk, he walks four or five metres ahead (to the extent that people have started to comment). He's not very 'emotionally literate', very blokey, not been in many relationships (which has been the cause of other problems too...). So. How do I raise it with him that I am actually starting to feel like a prostitute (apologies to any working girls out there) - having sex with no intimacy?
You have tried to raise it, he goes quiet and acts hurt.
Therefore, you have two options:
1) put up with it and don't complain
I recommend the second option.
That's strange isn't it. What about writing him a letter with all your thoughts and hopes for the future, maybe suggest counselling, see what his reaction to that is, if it's brushing it under the carpet again, then maybe it's time to decide to finish things.
Does he initiate the sex.
Oh yes, he intitiates the sex - usually by grabbing my boobs or something. He didn't used to be like this - that is what is so galling to me! He used to be respectful and moderately affectionate (not OTT, but OK), but in the last couple of years he's adopted this 'hands off' policy. I want to do everything I can to save the relationship, if it's possible, as I said, he's a lovely, kind man, it's just this lack of touching is doing my head in!
An example...I had a bad back a few weeks ago. I said that my back hurt and needed a rub. (We were in bed). He stuck his knee up and told me to rub against that (picture it, it was a bit like a pig on a gatepost). It wasn't done jokingly, it was a bit as though he thinks that's how people do things. His parents have a very 'hands off' marriage, I wonder if he's modelling that? But why did he start off all right?
That sounds awful, must make you feel really uncomfortable, It's very worrying that he doesn't seem to care that you are feeling used, does he know you feel this way, I know you said the communication is bad, if he knows you are feeling used/uncomfortable but carries on, this is abusive isn't it.
I genuinely don't think he does know how I feel. My own fault, I've kept quiet - it crept up on me at first, and now I'm just sitting there going 'WTF'? I don't think it's abusive - at least, it is to me, but it's not deliberate. I've got a horrible feeling that he thinks this is how relationships are meant to go after the honeymoon period. He works in a male dominated workplace, all his friends are male (and quite juvenile), and sometimes he does seem to have got 'stuck' at the age of 14.
It sounds grim. Firstly, you need to talk to him about it. If he refuses to discuss, then your next options are to put up with a crap relationship (why would you do that??), or split up with him.
TBH, with no real relationship progression after five years, only seeing him infrequently, I can't really see why you'd want to carry on with him anyway. Do you get anything from the relationship?
Sorry, OP, I'm a man and I don't behave like this. I hope none of my male friends do. Your man is not a lovely, kind man and I am surprised you think he is. A lovely, kind man, when his partner says "my back hurts and needs a rub" then proceeds to nicely rub his partner's back, not chuck his knee out and says "rub against that". A lovely, kind man does not walk four or five metres ahead of his partner.
He started off all right to "catch you". Now he's got you, he thinks he doesn't need to bother.
Please, let the scales fall from your eyes and see that this not a lovely, kind man at all and he only played at that to get you in the first place. Then re-read my first posting and select option 2. Because he will not change.
I think you'll have to lay your cards on the table, spell it out for him, if he thinks enough about you, he'll want to do all he can to make things right with you. That's why I suggested the writing of a letter, maybe it will make him face up to things, other than just dismissing you every time you try and speak face to face.
In all honesty, I would cut my losses. After 5 years - and being treated like this and not enjoying your time together, what are you doing it for?
You could have more fun going on dates, why sit in watching TV with someone who won't even walk beside you in the street?
Thanks for the advice, everyone.
I don't want 'relationship progression' to be honest, I prefer living alone, I've got my work and my animals and a semi-detached relationship was all I was ever after. I think he'd like things to move forward (but he never talks, so hard to know), but he knows not to pressure me. And he honestly is, lovely and kind, he looks after my car for me, mows my lawn, comes round and randomly fixes things (I'm a bit of a slob when it comes to things breaking) and he's always turning up with bits and pieces that I've mentioned needing but can't afford.
I've got a feeling that he thinks this is his way of showing affection. And I don't mind that, I really don't. I don't want a man who rings constantly (I work really random hours, and am also self employed - I need a lot of time alone). It is purely the lack of physical closeness that bothers me. It's as if he's divorced touching from anything else. He's a little bit OCD, in that we can't have sex if the weather is hot (too sticky), and we have to jump out of bed and clean up immediately after (which hurts a bit, I'd like to lie and cuddle), but all that I can live with. I just want a kiss, a hug or a cuddle at the end of the day!
He doesn't exactly 'dismiss' me when I try to talk to him, he just gets this panicky expression on his face. A kind of 'Oh god, this is about relationship stuff, what am I meant to do?' As I said, he's not experienced in this relationship thing, he doesn't know how it's meant to go (which works in my favour in the whole 'moving forward' stakes).
I just know how Prince Phillip feels, when the Queen walks ahead of him....
We hardly ever talk at all, in fact, most of our time together is spent in front of the TV (and I bloody hate watching TV, but it stops us having to talk...)
Ok so you don't live together
Don't touch (except when he wants to use you for a fuck)
You don't even walk together when out.
...in what way are you 'together' or him your 'partner' because I'm struggling to see this as anything other than him using you
X posted with you
Doesn't sound like a relationship is settle for. You might as well get a handyman in for whom you have no other expectations because by staying in this relationship you are free to find somebody whom you could have a lovely relationship with
I think, if this relationship ends, I really wouldn't be bothered about 'going on dates' (I'm really quite astonishingly poor and can't afford to go out - or a handyman for the jobs!) Actually, this has brought me to the thought - maybe I am actually using him. I'd be totally buggered for MOTing my car and he paid for an oil delivery to heat my house (you see what I mean about showing affection in odd ways?)
The relationship we have suits me in just about every way, except for the physical thing. And don't get hung up on the sex thing, we don't have sex very often, and we quite often spend weekends together without having sex (I rarely intiate, quite honestly I don't care if I never have sex again, menopausal lack of desire is a bitch).
I probably would have ended the whole thing, except my kids (who think he's great, but they don't have to sleep with him) booked us a holiday together this summer... I might sit him down sometime soon and try another discussion, because it's a situation that is now noticeable to others (the walking ahead thing actually caused him to get lost in London a year or so ago, he was so far ahead that, when I popped in for a bottle of water, he'd vanished when I came out).
If it suits you then it suits you. If things remained as they are, would you settle for that because of all the other things you get out of it?
Lastly, if that's how you feel I think you need to make sure you're on the same page with your relationship. If he is committed to you because he thinks you value him more than you do then he's wasting his life with you which would be unfair. If you are both together for convenience then there's no problem
Joysmum That is a very good point. I wonder if he thinks I'm madly smitten with him (I am very fond of him. I don't know if I 'love' him, but I was very badly heartbroken at the ending of my marriage, so I am a bit commitmentphobic as a result). We need to be on the same page, relationship wise. He did used to talk to me more at the beginning of the relationship (but then, he used to do everything more at the beginning), and express hopes for the future and stuff. I wonder if it's me that's shut all that down?
Although, that still doesn't explain why the hell he won't hold my hand/kiss me (although he will kiss goodbye when he leaves me), or snuggle up in bed. I think - because we spend long periods of time apart - I actually feel quite lonely when we're together. I was always used to being with people who'd chat or discuss the day's events, this guy is really the 'strong and silent' type. I mainly want to know the best way of putting it before him that I would like to be 'physical' but not with it having to lead to sex! (If I hug him, he'll generally stand like a statue, and then start doing groin-thrusty things, like a dog humping a leg, but I generally discourage that. Not with a rolled up newspaper, though)
"And don't get hung up on the sex thing, we don't have sex very often, and we quite often spend weekends together without having sex (I rarely intiate, quite honestly I don't care if I never have sex again, menopausal lack of desire is a bitch)."
Isn't his behaviour simply mirroring yours, OP? I think the responsibility for the lack of affection you feel lies at both of your feet - and that you're projecting some of your own ambivalence and detachment on to him.
Hmm, I'm getting the same vibes as gatewalker. It doesn't sound like much of a relationship really or least it's a very unemotional one. You get the odd bill paid for and a bit of diy, he gets someone to watch telly with and the occasional sex. Is that a good summing up? There must be more.
Good point, gatewalker, but I do try to show affection, as opposed to sexual contact. I try to hold hands or kiss and cuddle - I'd quite like to have affection without feeling that sex has to result. But I can't seem to get through to him that you can have a kiss or a hug without sex having to be part of it. Although, thinking about it, he doesn't kiss as part of sex either. I used to try more, but it started to feel awkward, when he'd pull away.
There used to be times when we'd kiss or embrace and he'd say things like 'doesn't mean we have to have sex...', but, guess what? He'd inevitably get turned on and we'd have sex. I don't turn down sex, but I don't often intitate it either. I'd feel far more like being sexy if he'd actually touch me sometimes! He doesn't compliment me either, although I ALWAYS tell him when he looks nice; if he says anything to me it's always that 'jokey' kind of thing (as in, if I get my hair cut, he'll say 'oh, you've had your ears lowered'. Acknowledging he's noticed, but not saying it looks nice or anything).
I am getting more and more confused here. On paper it sounds like we're the couple from hell, but we really do spend nice time together (if he doesn't insist on putting the bloody TV on!) We do have conversations, although rarely personal, and have a lot in common. Honestly.
fireside That is precisely it! Apart from the fact that we do do stuff together apart from watching TV! And I'm quite happy with it that way (as he seems to be), I just want some physical contact now and again!
Are you just putting up with the sex then, thinking of England so to speak, Sounds very cold.
The thing is that I would struggle to be affectionate to a partner who was merely "fond" of me. It's not exactly heart warming is it? I'm slightly struggling with trying to understand the dynamics here, so perhaps someone else may help more.
Vulcan I do enjoy the sex. But I'd enjoy it more if I felt as though he actually valued me. As a person. It's hard to throw yourself into sex with a man who won't touch you at all, but then expects you to be all hot and ready when you're in bed. If I felt that he fancied me, wanted to be seen out with me, I'd feel more engaged. As it is, I feel as though I could be his sister, but a sister he can shag.
fireside we do the 'I love you', 'I love you too' thing sometimes. And sometimes I do feel more strongly about him, but usually when he's actually making me feel valued - if actually does hug me (it's happened twice in the last year).
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.