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I have had sex but never made love

(30 Posts)
chicory Tue 01-Sep-09 22:15:10

Its hard to type this message but after about 16 years of being in a relationship I feel that I have had sex but never made love.

I care very much indeed for my husband - he is the only person Ive ever slept with. But feel that I have not been in love with him and he has certainly not been in love with me - although he cares very much for me also.

In fact up until recently I didnt really believe in being in love at all and thought it was ridiculous and irrelevent or just didnt really exist.

That was until about 2 years ago when I fell utterly in love with someone I know very well. It took about 6 months or so to fall in love and really I didnt see it happening or didnt want to. When I realised, it was too late - it had happened. Ive tried so hard to get out of this since then by various means, but it hasnt worked. He dosent know and we carry on being close (its hard not to as its such a natural connection) - we work together. I think he perhaps might feel the same - and its that that is so difficult. We get on so incredibly well - when people used to talk about soulmates I would not believe it, but this connection is how I feel.

I cant really describe how awful I feel about all of this for obvious reasons and the injustice to others - but in spite of the guilt the feelings dont go away, although it would be good it they did in may ways.

I can imagine that with him I could make love and I cant now let go of this idea. I have never craved just being with someone before. I almost "need" to tell him - perhaps that in itself will help the feelings disipate (if he says he does not feel the same way). Whatever, its so hard to go on feeling like this and I dont think I can for too much longer (getting another job is of course an option but v hard). Should I tell and at least hope that on rejection I will at least feel free - to continue with the rest of my life ?

purplepeony Tue 01-Sep-09 22:31:32

Is he married? Has he given you any indication that he feels more for you than just a friend? If he rebuffs you how iwll you cope with working together?

If you tell him and he makes you feel a fool then it might be easier to live with than this fantasy. On the other hand, it might make it worse- only you know.

If he did want you as well, would you leave your husband?

boogiewoogie Tue 01-Sep-09 22:33:05

I think that you need to sort the issue out with your husband first. As tempting that it may be to act on your feelings, it would probably do more harm than good to all involved including yourself.

If you do tell your colleague, he may take advantage of the situation and he may not be the man that you thought you were. If you want to stay friends with him, then it's best not to get romantically involved. Honestly, it would appear as if you were compromising yourself if you did so and do you think that your colleague would still have the same respect for you after that? I believe that you may even be at the start of an emotional affair. That's my initial thoughts.

Like I said before, if you want things to develop with your colleague, you would still need to concentrate on your husband first, whether that's reigniting the spark or telling him that you don't love him etc...

Good luck with whatever you decide.

HolyGuacamole Tue 01-Sep-09 22:34:44

Is he single? If this man wasn't around, would you still be so unhappy? Can your marriage be worked on or is it over?

I'd say treat people the way you want to be treated. Tell him after you have left your DH and given your DH the choice/opportunity that he is entitled to, to seek the same happiness that you are seeking.

TBH, unless or until you know how the other person feels, it is all inside your head.

cherryblossoms Tue 01-Sep-09 22:35:21

Today's Times had an advice column. Does any of this sound relevant to you?


boogiewoogie Tue 01-Sep-09 22:35:55

*he was* not "you were"!

purplepeony Tue 01-Sep-09 22:41:24

cherry blossoms- I was going to post that link too- great minds think alike.

purplepeony Tue 01-Sep-09 22:48:09

Maybe you need to ask why you married your H in the first place if you knew it wasn't love?

Are you confusing real love with infatuation?

There is something very teenager-ish about your post- it sounds like a school girl crush from someone who has little experience of men. I don't mean to be hard on you, but if you have been married for 16 years, slept only with your H, and have never been "in love" then you have limited experience of relationships.

It may well be that this man is in love with you too and it will all end happily, apart from your H who may or may not be hurt. But if youare so close to this other man, have you not shared your feelings about your marriage a tiny bit- and has he not shared his?

I find it hard to believe that if this was a real relationship in the making, he would have bitten his tongue for 2 years and not showed you that he wanted you, unless he is truly honourable and thinks you are prefectly happy as you are.

cherryblossoms Tue 01-Sep-09 22:48:46

** little bit off-topic, hope you don't mind, Chicory **

grin purplepeony (and chicory) - I have to admit, I thought it was a really good article. She covered a lot of ground, very succinctly. Made me really think about how we human beings live ... . We are strange and complicated ... .


Chicory - One thing I liked about that article was the age of the writer. It just seemed to highlight that we're never too old to effect change. Or, rather, that change strikes us, along with the desire for change (even if that is experienced as quite a negative thing at first,) at all stages of our lives. And it need not be destructive. Even if it is quite a challenging experience.

purplepeony Tue 01-Sep-09 22:51:27

I agree- what I liked was her non-judgemental tone - oh please let's have more of that on MN!

It was very practical along the line s of "what to do now" ( and okay, that included talking to his wife whom he had not had sex with for 28 years) rather than "sort out your marriage first, then start looking".

If only emotions could be so easily contained, and we did as we knew was best, life would be so simple.

chicory Tue 01-Sep-09 23:02:54

Thank you so much for all the responses. Yes the Times article does resonate.

Peony, I agree it does sound teenagerish - but nonetheless I have never felt like this before about someone and perhaps it can happen at any age. I agree I dont have much relationship experience and to be honest think in retrospect it would have been better when younger to have had more - but too late now for that. Generally I am not teenagerish and people in RL no think I am a very sorted out person - before this I think I thought I was too. He is a good person - bit I do get the feeling he has some feelings for me, but I agree it may all be in my head. That is why after all this time I so want to say somthing - almost not to continue further but it may as you say peony be easier to live with than this fantasy. At the moment this takes up so much space in my head that I cant almost deal with other things...If he lost respect for me then I guess that would squash it also (although it would be hard). I would not have an actual affair - I really dont think so - I dont think I could honestly do that..

charlotte200 Tue 01-Sep-09 23:13:43

that sounds very sad - perhaps it is best to tell him at least ot could help respolve ot one way or another ?

cherryblossoms Tue 01-Sep-09 23:34:03

Chicory - It sounds teenagerish only because it's about emotional discovery - it's as much about you finding out about you as it is about love/relationships/whatever.

Don't think back about your youthful lack of experience - that was you, then and it all worked for you, then. What has happened is that you have undergone some change. Not surprising - we live many years (hopefully) these days, and we should expect to learn one or two things and thus change a little (or a lot) along the way.

I'm sure your RL friends DO think you're sorted. You're on mn, mulling over a problem, basically because you are probably one of life's more cautious, reflective, self-controlled types - rather than one of life's "plungers".

The question is - what to do?

Well, one thing is to accept that this has come up because you need to learn to know yourself again - just as you did when you were a teenager. Though, of course, you can go about that in a slower, more considered way than your average teenager!

There are many options. You could book some Relate sessions, and talk about your relationship with your current partner; you could think about what would be your most absolutely optimal outcome from all this and take steps to move towards it.

You could discuss how you feel with this other person, hopefully in a way that didn't crush or embarrass either of you. It's all a bit tricky. There really isn't a clearly "correct" or "risk-free" thing to do. Though I was struck by that article urging caution and small steps. Which would argue against doing anything dramatic. Mind you, you don't strike me as the dramatic type.

Ultimately, you have to think (more thinking) about what it is that all this is telling you you really want and start taking steps to move towards that. Though I cannot imagine that is very easy!

SolidGoldBrass Tue 01-Sep-09 23:34:04

TBH I doubt very much that this man is in love with you, I think you have found a 'safe' target to project fantasies onto. I also think this idea of 'really making love' to be a rather toxic myth: good sex is just good sex. Could your H do with some help in the technique department?
A lot of people put up with years of rubbish sex because they are 'in love' or have committed to the relationship for other reasons. and you can have terrific sex with people who you are just having a causual fling with.
Something vital to remember is that couple-relationships are neither the most important thing in the world, nor a way of making your whole life better: if you are unhappy, the solution is never going to be 'start a new relationship'. Other people can't fix you, you have to fix yourself.
Have other things recently changed in your life, such as DC leaving home, or a bereavement, or your H changing his behaviour in some way? It sounds like 'having feelings' for a pleasant and attractive colleague is filling some gap in your life.

IOnlyReadtheDailyMailinCafes Tue 01-Sep-09 23:37:54

I agree with SGB.

I have spent too long chasing "love" and have come to the conclusion that it is a load of nonsense.

LovelyTinOfSpam Tue 01-Sep-09 23:40:54

Also agree SGB talks sense.

purplepeony Wed 02-Sep-09 08:58:24

Chicory- one thing you havenot asnwered is whether this man is married. IMO that makes a hge difference; if he is, then you are treading on very dangerous ground. One marraige between you is a problem, 2 would beharder, unless he is really unhappy too. You didn't answer my questions about whether you have talked at all to each other about your (respective) relationships at any time. If not, then that seems to say you are not as close as you think you are, or that if he has, then you should know if he is happy with his current status- be that committed or free.

I don't agree with SGB about sex and love; that's her own experience/opinion. I do agree that good sex happens without commitment or love, but I do know men - very experienced and "promiscuous" men who have told me categorically that they can either make love to a woman or shag her - and that there is a difference in their heads.

For most women- and I say most- there needs to be an emotional connection for sex to be good- but that's not to say that sex IS always good with an emotional connection, or that good sex cannot happen without an emotional connection. I am saying that for most women, most of the time, they like to feel emotionally involved with their partner( see the other thread by FlightAttendent.)and feel an element of love, respect, caring- call it what you will.

Sex without feelings is more masculine behaviour and some women are nearer that end of the spectrum. Ther are women who can have 1 night stands and casual sex, but they are in a minority, and often they are kidding themselves- I have lost count of the number of men friends who have told me that it was all very casual, only to find a few weeks or months down the line the woman became possessive and wanted more, although initially they denied wanting any commitment.

OP_ you can only decide what is best for you. There are so many possible scenarios- it could be that this man knows how you feel and is being kind to you by keeping the friendship going on that level- and that level only. It could be that he just happens to be the object of your awakened sexuality, if that is what it is. I'd say that on balance, most men if they want to take things further, generally make that known.

You need to ask why you find him so it because he offers you soemthing you are not getting from your husband- and if so, what? Could you get that from your marriage? Is your marriage worth saving now you have felt strongly for another man? If it wasn't to go any further with this man, would you still want toleave your marriage and look for the "soul mate" you seem to yearn for?

IOnlyReadtheDailyMailinCafes Wed 02-Sep-09 10:23:06

I agree for me sex without feelings is meaningless, but love is at worst an invention or at best over rated. I would not unsettle my family over "love"

ninah Wed 02-Sep-09 11:02:28

agree with sgb
'making love' makes me think of Barry White

2rebecca Wed 02-Sep-09 11:11:08

I agree with solid gold brass about good sex just being good sex and the "really making love" thing being a bit of a myth. In my experience sex is usually best at the beginning of a relationship when everything is new and your hormones are a bit mental. It then calms down as you settle into a relationship and real love develops between the couple. You then have to be careful that you don't become so familiar with each other that you're more like brother and sister and the sex goes really flat.
If I wanted good sex I'd probably just stay with a bloke for a year or so. That does mean you miss out on alot of the other benefits of being in a relationship with someone though, both for you and your kids. Having good sex is great, but not really anything to do with soul mates and long term partners. If you think you don't want to be with your husband any more and want to leave then that may be the right decision for you. I wouldn't leave just because you think the sex will be better though, it probably will be , but only for a while.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 02-Sep-09 14:35:03

'Soul mates' is the most pernicious myth of the lot. When/if you want to pairbond, there is usually a fairly big pool of people who are attractive to you, available and basically decent human beings, any one of whom will do. Most people probably go through a stage of being pair-bond ready (or wanting to breed) at least once in their lives, though many do not; the idea that there is one perfect partner out there for you is monogamist bullshit that makes for a lot of misery - because 'The One' is so important, monogamists frequently dump existing partners with shocking cruelty to pursue a new one, then when the new one proves to be flatulent, skint or just gets over familiar then oh no, s/he wasn't The ONe, but the next one is...

purplepeony Wed 02-Sep-09 16:57:06

LOL at "pair bonding". Reads like somehting out of a Desmond Morris book- or should that be David Attenborough?

abedelia Wed 02-Sep-09 18:53:31

CHEERS for SGB's one minute analysis of all that's wrong with the world.

IOnlyReadtheDailyMailinCafes Wed 02-Sep-09 18:53:47

I agree totally SGB.

chicorylite Wed 02-Sep-09 21:52:15

Sorry this is (problems with registration)
thanks for your replies.

Cherryblossom I do feel I am going through a phase of emotional discovery - not sure why now though...

Its certainly not about sex - its more about an emotional connection. For some reason we have this - its very hard to explain but I felt it really as soon as we met and it carried on developing as time went on. We laugh a lot together

He is married - he has spoken a bit about this and it is all fairly low key but essentially his wife likes what he does not and he likes/interested in the same as me - to sum it up. The feeling is not exackly positive. I have never spoken re my relationship and have even defended his wife. My question is how to get over this...

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