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My relationship is a zombie. Is it better to leave or to find partners on the side?

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    My relationship is a zombie. Is it better to leave or to find partners on the side?

    I came here often about a while back. At the time, I had no insight into why my partner had stopped touching, kissing, and wanting sex. Much has happened. Now I know. Long, tangled story short, I'm manic depressive and learned this a few years into our relationship. I'm on meds now and feel better about myself than I ever have. However, for the first several years of this relationship I was, well, manic depressive. I still have a wide range of fairly intense feelings. In counseling ("either we go or I leave" was how I got her there) my partner revealed that my feelings exhaust her. This blindsided me.

    In the past two years, we've had sex five or six times. For more than a year, there was no sex at all. No touching, no real kissing, no holding hands, no nothing. She won't kiss beyond a quick, sisterly peck. When I touch her she doesn't touch me back. We're very different people and she likes to be in charge. I used to let her have her way because her love is more important to me than winning. But with her love gone, giving in gets me nothing. I don't back down any more. We bicker. It is really stupid. Stupid and boring.

    However, she reports being more or less okay with this relationship. For me though it's not even a relationship, it's being roommates. We stay together largely because of the house and stability for her children, and partly because she worries my life will fall apart. She does care; this is clear and I don't question it. So we're together for the foreseeable future.

    She clearly wants to keep the relationship going, but can she really think this is sustainable? She knows I am deeply dissatisfied but she shows no interest in my business, where I go and when. Is she assuming I have women on the side? I don't. Should I?
    ______________________

    Give all your love now. For all we know we might be dead by tomorrow.

    #2
    Here is a post from before: https://www.womens-health.com/boards...-i-need-advice Have you ever asked her if she would be OK with you having a discrete romantic relationship on the side?
    I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
    ...
    Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

    From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

    Comment


      #3
      Macon, your story reads a bit like mine; my own "roomate" has only occasional attacks of "libido," which she freely admitted just a day ago, in a rare candid moment. I just wish I could make a helpful suggestion, as several others have, but I cannot.

      Comment


        #4
        If you're unhappy, then your relationship does seem non-existent. You are not being unreasonable and it does seem the passion has left. You obviously want more than a sisterly kiss: there must be some reason she isn't feeling the love. Maybe she's in a bad place? I know you have told us you have manic depression [or bi-polar, as it is called nowadays] but you're still a valuable person, in spite of the difficulties you're going through. If she doesn't want to talk and work things out, then you have to ask yourself if this is a relationship worth pursuing. I don't think it is from here. Trust your heart.

        Comment


          #5
          Macon, it does seem that there's little reason for you to stay in this relationship.
          One of the most bizarre things I've ever read about a relationship was in your earlier thread, where you quoted her to the effect that she no longer felt the need to have sex with you since she was convinced you truly loved her! As if the only reason for having sex was make someone love you, and not as an expression of that love.

          Comment


            #6
            you've been together 10 yrs or so from what I read before, right?
            she's in 40 s and you're in 50 s
            so perhaps you both were more attractive 10 yrs ago, correct?

            as people head into their 50s, people do age
            is it possible she just isnt attracted to you anymore?

            10 yrs between spouses is a lot as people get older
            my husband is close to my age but if he was 10 yrs older, there'd be a big difference in our looks







            Comment


              #7
              And yet Macon's wife is the one who no longer seems to feel the need to keep herself fit, in shape, and attractive.

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you all for responding. Amy, I am 58. She is 12 years younger and was a marathon runner when we met exactly 12 years ago. We climbed mountains and roller bladed and biked many miles together. She has since gained at least 50 pounds and spends a lot of her free time on the couch looking at her phone. Other than walking some at work, she is inactive. She can still do short hikes with me now and then, but Texas is right, she has abandoned any attempt to be fit and attractive.

                I look and act 10-15 years younger than I am. I wear jeans from college. I take stairs two at a time. When I'm out with my granddaughter, everyone assumes she is my daughter. When I reveal my age, people are visibly surprised. When I'm with my son, people tell me they thought I was his brother.

                She lost interest she says because I was so needy in those years when I was depressed and she cannot forget that. Now medicated, I'm unlikely to fall back into depression, yet she says how I was in the past is how I’ll be in the future. When I express emotion she closes up.

                I’m a writer/artist and I have always had trouble earning money. However we keep our money separate and I keep up my end one way or another. She worries I will be a burden in retirement. This is legit and a big worry for me as well regardless.

                My options are to get affection and sex elsewhere or leave. This is my dilemma: I have few marketable skills and no employer for health insurance. Most of my money is locked up in our house. Leaving without a solid income would be a financial disaster.

                jns, I am daily on the brink of talking with her about having something on the side. I don't because if she says no she’ll be watching and I lose the possibility of doing this in secret.

                If she’s likely to be assuming I’m having sex elsewhere, then there’s less risk in doing that and less urgency about leaving. If, instead, she’s likely to explode on finding out I’m doing that, then I need to figure out a way to leave soon without destroying my financial situation.

                Thank you so much for your attention.
                ______________________

                Give all your love now. For all we know we might be dead by tomorrow.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Being in a relationship you're feeling trapped in because of your financial situation is obviously incredibly difficult and frustrating for you. But I don't think having sex on the side is the way forward. Of course, you are frustrated by the lack of being physical, but having relations on the side is not the solution. I think you need to be honest with her and say you've had enough. She has put all the blame at your feet: but I doubt it is all your fault. Having lack of money will make moving on difficult, but there are ways to get money. Not necessarily a full time job, but maybe something part-time. You could also claim money from the government, although there is no guarantee they'll set up payments into your bank account. I wouldn't advise borrowing money, though: that is the worst thing you can do. But, anyhow, talk to her and say you need someone who loves you. Yes, again you're frustrated sexually, but going behind her back in disaster in the making.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    This resolved abruptly this morning. We had some stupid spat about counseling and it went sharply bad. She revealed she had already decided she wanted the house. Shortly after this conversation (I'm quite slow on practical matters) I realized she had thought this through already. She never intended to rebuild this relationship. For reasons I won't go into, both cruel and startlingly kind, she was letting it drift where it would. So I asked, what about girls on the side. She said that wasn't sustainable and continued in a way that indicated she'd thought that through too. Then it came out she'd found dating apps on my phone a week or so ago and indeed had assumed I had such affairs or affair going on. (I had given her my phone to facetime with her son and she came upon these by accident.) I have lurked on dating sites and pondered what it might feel like to jump in, but never acted. I said so. She accepted that at face value because we have never lied to one another. It was an unhappy conversation but not a bitter one.

                    So it's over. There's no hurry, but I need to move out. I'm very, very sad.
                    ______________________

                    Give all your love now. For all we know we might be dead by tomorrow.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by macon View Post
                      So it's over. There's no hurry, but I need to move out. I'm very, very sad.
                      she asked you for a divorce?

                      sorry, it certainly must be a disappointment to not be able to work things out


                      considering you have most of your money tied up in the house, it seems that you two should sell the house
                      or find someway to get your equity from the house/work something out bet. you two
                      best to you

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It's weirder, Amy, than one divorcing the other. We never intended to marry because we were both divorced and done with relying on marriage to hold a relationship together. Then we married years ago so I could be on her insurance and get treatment for my manic depression. The only real conflict between us is my need for love she doesn't have for me. She's in no hurry to look for anyone else, so we will remain as we are for now. Nothing has changed except my new understanding I cannot have with her the love I need. When I leave she will pay me my share of the equity. But I'm sitting here now in my office listening to her chat on ordinary topics with her mother. We have hard transitions ahead, but apparently nothing adversarial. Yesterday was our anniversary. I'm relieved to finally know, but so sad to lose the woman I love and believed I would be with to the end. It seems impossible to start over, and impossible ever to find again such love as we had before.
                        ______________________

                        Give all your love now. For all we know we might be dead by tomorrow.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You are 58, she is 46 and you and her got together when she was 34 and you were 46.

                          My metabolism seemed to change about when I was 40. Before it was much easier to keep weight off. Afterwards, not so easy. I ended up gaining a lot of weight and was later diagnosed with diabetes. Of course breaking my leg and having it heal not correctly making snow skiing difficult wiped out a winter sport that kept me a bit more active was also a part of it. It gets discouraging when you restrict your diet to lose weight and gain weight instead. Maybe something like that has happened.

                          Another thing to consider is menopause and the hormonal changes that it caused.

                          Have you considered technical writing or ghost writing for technical topics? It may not be something that excites you but it may put your writing skills to work for reasonable pay. I am an engineer by both training and career. Writing was always one of those things I dreaded even though I don't really have a problem putting words on paper or in a computer. At times I sound like Yoda and can reread things many times and not see the flaws in the writing even though the technical logic is correct. There are others who could benefit from your skills and would pay for them.

                          Smart phones are the opiates of the masses of today. In some ways it makes me wish for the old days when friends were just addicted to street drugs.
                          I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
                          ...
                          Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

                          From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I wonder about menopause, jns, but she had lost interest in sex by the time she was forty. I don' t know what's going on and she won't tell me.

                            I decided I didn't feel like being kicked out of my own house. So rather than accept her idea that the relationship is over, I told her we were going to do things different and laid out some ground rules. This perked her up a bit.

                            My part of the new world order is to clean whatever I want to. She had so taken over the house with her rules about what her children were supposed to do (and almost never did) that I'd quit cleaning. She did everything. Over time she cast me as an inept slouch. No more. It's my house; I'll do what I want. Her part is to quit hiding her feelings and tell me what she wants. No more guessing.

                            Forcefulness on my part can rebuild her respect, she tells me, but it won't revive her affection. I told her I need to know soon what Will revive it because I'm 58 and I don't have time to wait around. Either I can do something and I stay, or I can't and one of us leaves.

                            Smartphones are evil. I would gladly go back to maps, house phones, and calendars. No innovation since the Pill has improved our lives more than it's damaged them.
                            ______________________

                            Give all your love now. For all we know we might be dead by tomorrow.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              At least you found a fairly reasonable solution. It isn't perfect, but now you're both being honest with each other. From what I can gather things are dying a slow death. Whether this is good or bad I don't know.

                              I hope everything pans out right.

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