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12 year relationship breaking down

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  • #296385
    Prairie light
    Participant

    I‘m struggling and can’t talk to friends or family at this time.
    I am thinking of leaving my partner of 12 years. It’s not the first time. I seriously considered it 2 years ago, and this feels exactly the same. I didn’t do it then because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m not sure if I can do it now. It’s the same issue…
    There are good things about our relationship. But I have been doubting my feelings for a long time. I feel that I can’t give her all of me, and she deserves that. I am holding back. Without going in to all the personal details, my question is this….
    Have any of you left a long term relationship with a good person that you have many things in common with and could live within for many years, if you didn’t feel so guilty because your partner wants and deserves more? I have been asking if she could be with me as a companion. She thinks that is crazy and It feels so wrong for her. The thing is that I have had years of feeling this way towards her, and she has been unaware. So for me this is almost ‘normal’, and for her she feels sick about it. I’m finally being honest with myself and now her, instead of stuffing my feelings and going on as if everything is ok.
    We have 2 dogs, a great house and stability, and I enjoy her company. If I am honest, I am worried that I will be alone for the rest of my life – I’m 52. I think I will not able to truly commit to anyone. And I’m really scared.
    She says I will me making ‘a huge’ mistake to leave.
    Have any of you made such a mistake – left someone that you had been in a long term/mostly good relationship with and left and have regretted in a major way?

    #296387
    Mark
    Participant

    Ruth,

    I got divorced after being married for 19 years.  We have two children together.  It was the right thing to do.  Change and leaving someone who you are so committed to is extremely hard.  It takes courage and love for yourself.We had the house and children together and stability.  Was it right for any of us including our children?  Yes there was fear and doubt but it was the right thing for all of us.

    I look at living my life as if I am going to die the next day and ask myself if I will have any regrets.  I knew in my heart that I had to leave.  I love my life and it was the best thing I could have done for myself and my children.

    Do not make decisions out of fear, only love – especially first and foremost, love for yourself.

    Mark

    #296399
    Valora
    Participant

    I have never been married, so I cannot give advice on that front, but I CAN tell you how hard it is to find a great, stable relationship with someone whose company you enjoy. I’m 37 and conventionally attractive, and it’s rough out there, so I also feel like your fears are justified. Loyalty is a difficult thing to come by, especially. Have you considered going to couples counseling? Is there any way that you could maybe figure out what feeling or thing in your marriage is lacking for you and see if there is a way to bring that back into the marriage?  Could you just be bored with the relationship and/or your life?

    There is a triangular theory of love, which says all relationships contain a mixture of passion, intimacy (friendship), and commitment. Do you feel like your relationship is lacking one of those things and is there a way for you to bring it into the relationship, especially if it was once there?

    I’m just asking these questions because sometimes people think there is an outside fix (meaning separating and being with someone else) when the problem is really something that can be fixed by going within… but other times, people just aren’t compatible. From what you’ve described, you and your wife sound quite compatible, so I do think it’d be a good idea to consider trying some other things that haven’t been tried yet (like counseling or even just doing new, exciting things together, etc) before leaving, especially if your wife would be open to working on things as well.

    #296413
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Ruth,

    The worst part about breaking up is when your partner is so NICE! It makes it so much easier if you discover a grave mistake or a fatal flaw. That is your excuse! It’s interesting that our happiness isn’t enough of a reason to break up in our minds.

    Twelve years is long enough for any relationship to be deemed a success. You breaking up with her will never take away, dismiss, or minimize all the great times you had together. Tell her that when you tell her it’s time to move on.

    Be brave and good luck!

    Inky

    #296563
    Gareth
    Participant

    Has your partner said that she wants more from the relationship, or is she happy with the way things are? If she does want more, what does she want to change?

    What changes could you make to make things better for yourself, other than leaving? Would leaving give you additional freedom?

    If your partner hasn’t mentioned anything, then you’re perhaps assuming what her thoughts are, rather than actually listening to what she wants. You talk about her deserving more and you can’t give her your all, but perhaps the amount you are giving is enough for her?

    Obviously this is all done out of love, if you didn’t feel anything for her then you wouldn’t be here. Not everyone loves in the same way, so you consider this important.

    Sit down and talk with her. Discuss how you feel, even the worst parts about it and be truthful, no matter how bad it makes you feel.

    You can only move on with this stuff unless you communicate, thoughts and assumptions are not reality.

    #296689
    Prairie light
    Participant

    Thank you to everyone for responding. I really appreciate all of you.  The problem is that I don’t feel sexual in the relationship anymore, probably for 10 years.  I have felt guilty for most of that time, because she has said many times how important sexual intimacy is in a relationship. She doesn’t want to be ‘room mates’ as she calls it.  It’s confusing for me, because I don’t want to be just room mates either.  I want to be able to have physical closeness and companionship that has more depth than ‘room mates’.

    I have taken 10 years to come to this ‘to the bone’ level of honesty.  she has just found out that her partner is not attracted to her.  I said that to her and it has hurt her so deeply, it’s terrible.  She said to me ‘who says that to their partner?’  I feel like a horrible person.  Maybe is should not have said it, but it is the truth.  How much truth is too much?

    #296693
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Prairie light:

    I think that you did the right thing for yourself and for her. I wish you didn’t suffer for ten years “stuffing (your) feeling and going on as if everything is ok”.

    “She said to me ‘who says that to their partner?'”- I wonder if she is ok with you not being sexually attracted to her as long as you don’t say it?

    – but you are not and haven’t been okay pretending, so congratulations for being authentic and truthful. I hope you find a compatible partner sooner than later.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by anita.
    #296715
    Prairie light
    Participant

    I think you hit the nail on the head.  She did say to me something to that effect ( I wish I could remember her exact words).

    #296717
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Prairie light:

    You wrote: “I had years of feeling this way toward her, and she has been unaware”- I think that she was aware but didn’t let that awareness bother her, not as  long as you participated in a sexual relationship with her.

    What motivated you to compromise yourself this way, having sex with her for ten years without feeling attracted to her was guilt: “I can’t give her all of me, and she deserves that… (she is) a good person… (I) feel so guilty because (my) partner wants and deserves more….I have felt guilty for most of that time.. I feel like a horrible person”-

    -she encouraged your guilt when she said to you “who says that to their partner?”- her answer is in her question: a bad person says that to their partner. I imagine she encouraged your guilt throughout the relationship (?)

    You were also motivated by fear of being alone and she encouraged that fear when she told you that you “will be making ‘a huge’ mistake to leave”.

    When you offered her a non sexual companionship, her response was “that it is crazy and it feels so wrong for her”- she didn’t ask you what you feel, did she? How long you felt this way… what can she do to change your lack of attraction toward her. She told you basically that you are crazy and wrong.

    And she ejected your effort to find a solution to your distress of ten years without suggesting a different solution (examples, and I am only guessing, improve hygiene, lose weight, get in shape).

    “Maybe I should not have said it, but it is the truth. How much truth is too much?”- for her, your true feelings are too much, your distress and discomfort is too much for her to bother with, to be concerned about.

    Reads like she is not the good person you suggested that she is in your original post. A good person is not this selfish, a good person cares about the true feelings of the one she supposedly loves.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by anita.
    #296721
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Again,

    There is no perfect, graceful way to break up with someone.

    Saying to your partner “I’m not attracted to you” may be up there with “I love you, but I’m not in love with you”.

    That said, I wonder what on earth you COULD have said? “It’s not working”? “It’s not you it’s me”?

    Don’t beat yourself up. When you break up, the last thing you want is a debate. It is impossible to debate someone out of “I’m not attracted to you”. That’s why she’s mad.

    Beware of the inevitable weight loss, new haircut, fashionable clothes, etc. she will do casually on purpose for you to see what you’re missing.

    Inky

    #296743
    Prairie light
    Participant

    Anita,

    is there any way in this forum to talk in a private conversation. I am new to posting on forums!

    Ruth

    #296751
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ruth:

    Not that I know of. If you are concerned about sharing intimate details about the relationship, you can instead share in generalities, not very specifically, I think I will understand enough if you share in a less specific detailed way (I have enough imagination to connect the dots and if I am not sure I can verify with you if I understand you correctly… again, without the details you don’t feel comfortable sharing).

    anita

    #296833
    Prairie light
    Participant

    Thanks Anita,

    She has not been guilting me I don’t think, up til this point I guess – because she is really angry (?). Physical intimacy has never been frequent.  I have struggled in this arena for as long as I can remember and feel that this struggle will rear its head in any relationship I may have. She has been aware of my struggles all along. I have had 2 relationships in my 52 years where there was intense attraction at the beginning (note…I pursued her), which fades quite early on.  In the first case, it was a short relationship and she broke up with me.  I was still in love with her (at least I though I was).  With my current partner I left the person I was with to be with her – emotional affair I guess.  That relationship was with someone who was very nurturing but there was never any physical or even emotional attraction.  I have bipolar disorder and was in an elevated emotional state when my current relationship began and it was VERY intense.  She was wary of starting a relationship with me because it was clearly a rebound relationship and she wanted to take it slower than I did. I have been stable for 11 years as I started on the right medication.  There is a lot more detail that I could give which would take a very long time, and I would rather do it more privately (which it sounds like is not possible through this forum).

    I have noticed that you respond to almost everyone on this forum, and am amazed! You give very sound advice.  I wonder if you are a professional counsellor actually – not expecting you to answer whether or not you are.

    thanks for caring

    Ruth

    #296835
    Prairie light
    Participant

    Thank you Inky.  I also appreciate your input.

    #296837
    Prairie light
    Participant

    Gareth I also found your response helpful. Please feel free to comment further Inky and Gareth.

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