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.
I think I'm in love but it's complicated(43 Posts)
I've been in a relationship for 3 years. We met though work and although I never felt a real spark, he was a really good guy and so I gave it a chance. And it grew into a solid, dependable, warm relationship.
He was technically my boss when I started at the company but I transferred to another department after 6 months. Then I got an email out of the blue from him asking me out. There was nothing to say that we couldn't date as we were no longer working together and our relationship went from strength to strength, eventually moving in together a year later.
I do love him, and as I said earlier, he is a good man. He's a couple of years younger than me though and less experienced relationship wise. He spent the most of his 20s building up his career, maybe at the expense of his personal life.
He's not one for romance though and if I'm honest, this has been an issue right from the start. Any attempt by me to be spontaneous and romantic is met with a pause, hesitation then the moment's gone and I come back down to earth with a bump. I've tried gently trying to bring it out of him, nurture a romantic environment but I have come to believe that he just isn't able to reciprocate. Because I do feel some kind of romance in him, even though it is very inhibited. Or maybe he just doesn't feel it enough for me.
Sex has dwindled to practically nothing, we never had much of an active sex relationship to begin with but the past 18 months or so, I'm lucky if I get any sex at all. I can count on one hand how many times we've DTD this year.
But that all said, he is safe and dependable and I care for him very much.
I have initiated conversations about where he thinks our relationship is going, and I've been quite frank about being frustrated by our lack of sex life and romance. But every time I suggest taking a break, he gets very emotional and promises to put more effort in. And I do believe him. As I said, I do feel some passion in him deep down. But nothing really changes and I just think this is who is and maybe this is just an area of our relationship that will never be amazing. There are other important areas that do work though, such as trust, respect and honesty. Values that I treasure above and beyond all else.
Recently, I went to a University reunion. And there was an old friend, Mark, who'd been in his postgrad year when I was a fresher. We were great friends for years and nearly got together - but after a week of dating as a couple (rather than hanging out as friends) I got a job abroad and we decided that a long distance relationship so early on wasn't going to work. We liked each other enough as friends to want to remain so and didn't want the potential complications of a relationship to spoil what we had.
And for years we stayed in touch periodically. Whilst abroad, I got into a serious relationship that lasted 5 years and during this period, out of respect for my then boyfriend, we limited contact although we'd occasionally send each other friendly Facebook messages on birthdays, christmas etc.
When my ex and I broke up, I moved back to the UK and got back in touch with Mark to see if he wanted to hang out again. But he'd just started seeing a woman who he ended up being engaged to. Needless to say, out of respect for his relationship we didn't have contact during this time.
Then his engagement ended and, yes, you've guessed it - by then I had met my DP!
So, back to the present now and the reunion a fortnight ago. It was so good to see Mark again and we had such a laugh reminiscing over old times. We went on to have dinner and I suddenly felt guilty, like I was cheating on my DP and so I made my excuses and went home.
Over the next few days, we've been texting and having very honest conversations. I've made it very clear that I have no intention of having an affair, although some might say that I'm already some sort of emotional one.
It's just that the time has come, I think both feel it, to be honest about our feelings in a mature and sensible way. Put any ideas about being together away for good or to finally take the leap of faith and take the chance.
He has told me that he loves me. Always has. That no-one has come close to the way he feels when we're together. I feel the same.
But what about my DP? I know I have to tell him what's been happening this past couple of weeks. We are not currently living together as he's in Ireland (on a six month contract) so we only see each other every other weekend.
We own this house together, have a joint mortgage and bank account and as far as our families are concerned, we're as good as married. It would cause no end of a scandal if I were to leave him for another man.
I'm seeing him later tonight.
How and what should I tell him and what should I do about Mark?
Feeling confused and it's not made easier by the fact that I can't stop thinking about Mark and each time I do, I feel butterflies and can't stop smiling in the soppiest way.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this long OP!
Your relationship sounds dead in the water.
You have nothing to lose by ending it. And I'd say the same thing even if this other guy wasn't in the picture.
Don't muddy the waters by having an affair. Give yourself some space before embarking on anything with your Ex. If it's meant to be , waiting for a couple more months won't be an issue.
You know the answer already, don't you OP?
Sad as it is, your current relationship has run its course. You're unhappy. Your lives are relatively easy to untangle, despite what relatives think (who cares what they think anyway?!).
Well, for one thing it's nothing to do with your family who you are seeing. Just because they like your partner, it doesn't mean you should be with him.
I think you and your partner have reached the end of the road regardless of Mark, don't you? You like him but as a romantic partner he's not what you want, is he?
Personally I would keep Mark out of this. I'd tell him I'd be in touch in three months' time and that until then I'd respect no communication. Then I'd speak to my partner and say it's not working out for you and you want to split up.
You're lucky he's working away and that he's so preoccupied with his job. That'll make things much, much easier for you.
Thanks so much for the replies. And good advice, I think I needed hear that I need to deal with my relationship first before embarking on anything with Mark.
I think the reason I'm afraid to do end the relationship with DP is that so many people I've spoken to who've been married or with their partners for years and years is that it's really common for relationships to lose that sexual spark and what you're left with is a deep friendship and love. Which is what I have with DP. We do love each other deeply and we care for, respect, and trust each other to be honest and true. And that's why I have to tell him what's been happening in my life recently.
What if I end up regretting letting this (apart form sex) good relationship go for a dream - and that dream is just that, a dream?
Or should I not be settling for anything less than an amazing chemistry, of the mind AND the body?
No-one can decide that for you, OP.
Purely from your description, your OH seems to have his own agenda and isn't really prepared to put any work into the relationship.
You have had good advice here and I was going to say the same thing. Yes frequency of sex can reduce but single digits per year in the 3rd year of a relationship is not the same - that's a disaster and you need to move on.
I had the same type of relationship with my exH OP. We were great friends, lived together harmoniously, he was a good person, but there was no sexual spark at all. And he just didn't seem to be interested in changing things in this regard. It destroyed my self-esteem.
I know some people can live with this. Eventually I realised that I couldn't. But I wish I had ended it years before instead of wasting a big chunk of my life (and his too). I can't tell you what to do, but that's my experience. Good luck with whatever you decide.
OK. So if I end it with DP, how do I do it? Do I tell him about Mark or is it a red herring that could get in the way? Is silence golden in this case? Or should I tell just him everything?
I think you don't have as much in your current relationship as you think.Sex and romance is very important, it's the difference between being friends or a couple.
I think your current partner has issues with connecting emotionally and you would be settling.
The reason everyone is cautious re a new relationship is that you really do need to grieve/end the connection before you would be free to be with someone else.Your heart and head has to be totally free before you embark on a new relationship.
x posted with you surprised.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. How did you know when to end it when you eventually did? Was there a catalyst? Hope you don't mind me asking. Yours sounds so similar to where I am now.
Absolutely don't tell him about Mark- he is the catalyst but not the reason for you leaving. I do think it was great advice to tell mark you will contact him in 3 months- if it's worth it he'll wait and it stops the start of your relationship being a little seedy.
Never settle, you're still young & you sound bored
I decided that I wanted to have kids OP and that was never going to happen with exH.
I am bored, you are right. I hadn't even realised until recently. And suddenly I feel like I need to be my own person again, stop compromising in favour of a safe life.
But i'm not so young, still youthful I think but if I want to have children I'd better hurry on. I'll be forty next year.
Another reason why I'm reluctant to leave DP as we've been talking about TTC.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
I would agree that the sexual spark does indeed fade and has for me and dh. But we've been together for 16 years, married for 10 and have 2 small dcs.
3 years in is not reasonable to have no sexual relationship at all.
I think you need to tell your dp you think your relationship has run its course, but I don't think you need to mention the other man when you do. He is irrelevant really as your present relationship is over anyway if you're honest isn't it?
SleepingTiger, please don't troll hunt. I'm not writing a book, this is my life. And it's hurtful to be troll hunted. I'm a regular on MN but NC'd because this is a sensitive subject.
If you think my post is fake then report it in the correct way. Otherwise it potentially derails my thread.
Hmmm SleepingTiger that crossed my mind actually....
I'm not convinced all you're left with is friendship and love in any event, but leaving that aside that certainky shouldn't be all that's left after three years!
That's still relatively early days and from your posts you sound like you've been together 25 years, not 3.
Your relationship is dead, Mark or no Mark, from the sounds of it,
If you stay with him, you will be settling and is that fair on your DP?
I am not troll hunting OP
Far from it. In fact, nothing I said was against you. Read it again.
In fact, please take my post as a compliment. Your post is well written. In fact, take your life a stage further. The way you incisively express your relationships I found to be....well I printed it out on paper and read it in the garden before posting.
Take from that what you will.
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.