- 2 months ago
Hi Bees. I’m not sure what to do here and I’m not sure what I expect, exactly, to get out of this except some other perspectives so here goes.
My Boyfriend and I have been together for 8 years. I was 16 when we got together and he was 18. We have been very happy, and have had a relatively happy and healthy relationship.
For a good part of our relationship, I acted as a stand-in parent. His home life growing up was terrible, with an absent mother and a hard-working (but never around) father. I have pushed him to get his GED, a great job, go to college, etc. I am so proud of him and all the progress he has made, and he is a wonderful partner. He truly loves, supports, and adores me, and I love, support, and adore him, too. He’s shown a massive capacity for growth.
We have some things in common, like music and mutual friends, movies, etc. But at the end of the day, I feel like something is missing – like there’s some deeper emotional/intellectual connection lacking. He doesn’t challenge me, we have never had a fight, we don’t debate, and there is a huge gap in our intellectual compatibility (which isn’t to say he is not smart, he is, it’s just a difference in types of intellect and interests – I’m a reader, he works with his hands, I’m obsessed with learning and knowledge and love to debate, etc.). It’s something I’ve missed but always had other ways to get satisfaction in.
We have never had a fight, and I feel like we’ve had a sort of shallow relationship in some ways – everything is very static/status quo, very friendly and polite, and mostly very innocent/pure.
I mostly have male friends, and made a male friend through work a few months back, completely platonic. I started to have some really intense feelings for him, and, in fact, let my boyfriend know. I wanted to be held accountable. But the problem is, I’ve never met anyone I’ve had such a connection with before. It’s that deep connection that I’ve been craving. I don’t want to compare my long term relationship with a shiny crush at all, and would never cheat, so I’ve backed off and minimized contact.
This time last year, we’d been going through a bit of a rut, but managed to bring ourselves out of it. Now I feel like it’s happening again, only this time, I’m starting to question whether this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I find myself hoping he won’t propose to me, which is a bit of a red flag after so long together. There’s nothing wrong with him either, and I absolutely LOVE hanging out with him all the time, so what gives? Why am I freaking out so much?
We didn’t have sex for the first time until 5 years into our relationship, but we definitely were attracted to each other when we first started dating. We had consistent sex for about a year (well, as consistent as it can be when one person is in college and the other is visiting every weekend), but it tapered off about a year after. Probably normal. We moved in together two years ago, and on average in the time we’ve lived together, have been intimate maybe once per month. As of today, we haven’t had sex in 8 months. I thought for awhile that I had low libido, and I have a very stressful job which can take a hit on it too; while I still enjoy cuddling, I really don’t feel the urge to have sex with him anymore. Too Much Information, but I often needed ‘outside motivation’ like porn in order to get in the mood to have sex. It’s not bad, and he’s not unattractive, and once we start I seem to enjoy it but finding the motivation can be tough. And it sucks because I want to want to be intimate with him. What knocked me on my ass after meeting the other person, too, was that I wasn’t sexually attracted to him at first – it was only after I got to know him and had that connection.
We struggle for things to talk about aside from work, mutual friends, and once in awhile music or TV. He’d make a great husband and a great dad, and I still love him but I’m not sure if I really feel in love with him. This is my first relationship and I really don’t know what’s normal for a long-term relationship at this point. I know that love grows and changes over time and that sex can dwindle and things can get boring; relationships are work. And we’ve always worked hard at ours, but nothing that felt like it wasn’t worth it.
I really don’t want to break up, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t imagine my life without him. We are seeing a couples’ counselor, but she says it’s going to be hard to help us when we don’t have a tangible issue that can be ‘worked on.’ So we spend a lot of time just talking and trying to understand where the disconnect is.
I don’t want to leave for a case of ‘grass is greener’ since a lot of the issues we’ve discussed were only brought to light after I had feelings for someone else, and he does fulfill a lot of the boxes. He’s absolutely WONDERFUL! So supportive, hard working, loves me, loves my family, etc. I really respect him and enjoy spending time with him, and I know I do love him, but I’m starting to wonder if the love has morphed into something more familial than romantic.
I want to figure out a way for us to connect and have a deeper, more meaningful relationship. I’m not sure if it’s possible but I’d like to try – I don’t want to break up for no reason or feel like I didn’t give it my best effort. 8 years is a lot of time to throw away, and losing him would be losing a massive part of my life. I want us both to feel fulfilled in our relationship, and I know he doesn’t feel the way I do AT ALL. He says he didn’t even realize I’d felt the way I did (but I had communicated to him probably 4 times within the last 14 months, so even our counselor doesn’t understand how he isn’t seeing it).
I feel really torn and guilty. I don’t want to lose him but I’m not sure how to fix this or make myself want to pursue more commitment with him. Just a year ago we were in a rut that we were able to come out of with me feeling like I wanted to marry him the next day – then 6 months later, we were back to that same spot, despite a great few months, an incredibly fun vacation, and less stress.
Any advice? Anyone have something like this happen to them? Is there a way to pull ourselves out or has the ship sailed?