Can someone you love but don’t ‘desire’ be the right choice?

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by Whatshername, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Whatshername

    Whatshername New Member

    Aug 17, 2019
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    TLDR; Can someone be your “soul mate” despite lack of sexual desire, and would you risk losing that in pursuit of more “romantic” feelings?

    My very big question is: having found someone who loves you, is kind, trustworthy, trusting, who you’re relaxed and have lots of fun with, are best friends with, can and do tell almost everything to, are physically close with (in the sense of snuggling, cuddling, holding hands, sweetly kissing, stroking, having baths together), and have lots of life plans with which you both want to do together....

    BUT, you feel that deep down you are and always have been lacking a strong sexual and romantic attraction to them (I must emphasise “always have been” - it’s not a time-related thing) and are therefore increasingly disinterested and even guilty/uncomfortable about having sex with them, meanwhile having constant fantasies about other women (not people you could realistically actually be with, really just fantasies), masturbating very frequently and feeling at times such an intense desire to have sex with someone - anyone - that you might be really attracted to that the fantasy starts to feel like more of a torment than something to enjoy, because it leaves you feeling so frustrated, guilty and all kinds of confusing emotions...

    Can that be a healthy relationship to stay in? Can it be the right relationship for the rest of your life?

    This is my situation. I’m almost 30 and I’ve been with my partner for 7 years. In fact, 2.5 years ago I broke up with her for these reasons, along with others, and we split up for almost half the year but remained in communication almost daily and saw each other quite often (but never had sex), and the entire time she was essentially convincing me to give things another chance. I had been so sad being apart that I decided it had to be worth trying after we talked through all the issues.

    My parents were very encouraging of us getting back together; they remarked on how close we always seemed and even said they thought we were “soul mates” (though of course I didn’t ever explain the sexual details to my parents - I just said “I didn’t feel the way I thought I should”). Their advice was that at the end of the day the most important thing is finding someone you really ‘like’ and will still like them when you grow old. I think they saw that I was happy when I was with her and they thought that was the best thing for me.

    So I decided that maybe I was making myself miserable over a romantic ideal which isn’t really realistic anyway. Now we’ve been back together for two years and I’ve always known the sexual aspect hadn’t changed but for a while I actually did feel content thinking I had concluded that wasn’t really the most important thing and that I was okay with that being my decision.

    But over the past few months or so that intense restlessness and worrying about whether this is the right thing has taken over again.

    My conundrum is figuring out whether I would lose more than I could potentially gain by ending this relationship. This relationship is my life and it was genuinely heartbreaking when we broke up before. And this time the decision would need to be final (obviously I realise I hurt her enough before with my indecisiveness, and I genuinely don’t mean/want to be a horrible person).

    Part of me thinks from a romantic perspective the answer is obvious. But in reality it’s not obvious at all that I would meet someone again who I would be so close to and get along so well with and who understands me so perfectly, and who loves me in the way that she loves me. That’s not an easy thing to throw away as though I can find that anywhere. People I want to have sex with will be a lot easier to find than that, but is that worth risking everything else for?

    Has anyone gone through anything similar? Do you have any wisdom to impart?

    (P.S.: to give you her perspective, as far as I understand it, when I told her some of these concerns before, as kindly as possibly, I think she took it that it was about wanting her to do things differently sexually, which was part of it but it also felt deeper than that, which was more difficult to explain to her. I also asked if she didn’t also feel things were lacking in that way and she insisted she didn’t. She basically said she didn’t care what I did or didn’t do, she just wanted to be with me. And she did say we could try more things together, but that never really happened and that’s at least as much my fault because the issue is I just haven’t really *wanted* to enough with her, but on the other hand when I have tried she has become very awkward... and she has told me many times she is awkward about sex, for no specific reason other than lack of confidence - and although I’m saying all this terrible negative stuff here I genuinely do try all the time to boost her confidence and compliment her, so it is a hard one to deal with.

    This is clearly part, but not all, of the issue: we are in some ways on the opposite end of a spectrum sexually in that I feel I am very sexual and I want to try different things, whereas she’s very reserved and seems to be satisfied with very little and just the same thing all the time... It’s fair to say at the heart of all my fantasising is the idea of someone who would actually be more fully sexual with me and not feel so awkward about it...)
  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

    Jul 4, 2013
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    So you are not even 30 and you are preparing to be in an old sexless couple hood? It would work if you don’t want sex as well. This is a big chunk of your life where you will be missing and you cannot feel guilty about wanting to be with someone else physically. You also cannot just shut down a part of you that you find important just for a best friend. You don’t want to resent her do you?

    There are options to staying together, at least give sexual therapy a try before hanging up your natural libido. Maybe you can spark something, maybe you can’t. And if you cannot, then you might have to think about calling it quits and just find someone who fits you well on things and have her as a bestie. You could also think about non-monogamy if that is something that fits into your personality. Please don’t retire feelings, it does not work.
    Crescida likes this.
  3. Writer23

    Writer23 Well-Known Member

    Jul 14, 2018
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    You are not a horrible person at all. You are honest. This could be a case of “the seven-year itch” or it could be something more. You both deserve to be happy and with people who adore you and are sexually passionate about you. It sounds as if she is an amazing woman. However, perhaps she is not the one for you. That is ok. Stop thinking about what everyone wants: your partner, your parents, etc. Also, stop making your decision out of fear. What do you want? What would make you happy? In the words of Shakespeare, “To thine own self is true”. However, in the same way, if you decide to leave her, make peace with your decision and leave. Nonetheless, please know that she might not be there waiting for you if should decide to go back. If she is a good woman, someone will snitch her up. You sound as if you are well on the verge of cheating if you have not already. If it comes down to cheating or leaving, leave because it is more humane. Sit down and decide what you want to do. Then, brace yourself for the consequences of your actions.
  4. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2013
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    This has come up before! A bunch. Here are some things I've said before about this:

    TL;DR: If this isn't okay with you, it isn't okay with you. You can explore couple's therapy or ethical non-monogamy as alternatives to just breaking up, but your partner also has to be willing to do some work and negotiation for this relationship to meet both your needs.
    Crescida likes this.

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