I do not want to be in a loveless, sexless relationship
I finally moved in with the father of my daughter but I feel unloved and rejected
‘Our sex life has stopped, it was great before, but it seems as if my partner no longer fancies me and he keeps turning me down’
PROBLEM: I have been in an on/off relationship with the father of my daughter, who is 11, for 12 years. I moved in with him in January 2017 as the situation was quite volatile and I thought this would make things better. I sold my flat in order to live with him and the plan was that we would all get a house together. I am not sure this will be happening now. Our sex life has stopped, it was great before, but it seems as if my partner no longer fancies me and he keeps turning me down.
I now have stopped instigating sex as I constantly feel rejected. When I spoke to him about the lack of sex he said that he did not really feel like it with all the rows going on.
I tried to talk to him about our relationship but he does not want to engage saying that he is fed up of talking about our relationship all the time (we don’t!). I have suggested counselling but he refuses. I feel constantly insecure and I hate myself. I do still take care of myself and exercise but I feel so low at the moment. I am trying to keep things as relaxed as possible with the result that things have improved with our daughter and there is less backchat and arguments from her.
He is better with me but I still feel that he does not love me or fancy me. He says that he likes having me around but then I cook, pay for a cleaner and do the washing as well as all the usual things for my daughter so what is not to like.
I have thought of moving out but I do not want to leave my daughter. She is a daddy’s girl and I know that if I went she would want to stay with him, it was hard enough when we did not live together; she was reluctant to come to me.
I do not want to be in a loveless, sexless relationship. The last 12 years have been really difficult for me and I have persisted as I wanted a family life for my daughter. However I have never felt truly loved by my partner and doubt I ever will. I think that we are not compatible as he is cold and hard and I am not but I know that I am no angel and can be stroppy when pushed.
ADVICE: Twelve years is a very long time to feel unloved and it seems you have tried everything, including moving in with your partner when things were very volatile – was this a good idea given your history with him?
It seems that you have hoped for things to improve but instead you are left feeling powerless and uncared for and perhaps now is the time to break this pattern and not let fear of rejection run your life.
Your daughter is close to her Dad and this can continue but perhaps she has a difficult relationship with you because you have been unhappy for so long and this brings resentment and stroppiness and she may be at the receiving end of some of this – indeed she may be learning it from you.
What you want your daughter to learn is how to create a life that is fulfilling and one that has at its core a requirement of love and attention. The lack of intimacy is weighing heavily on you and you say your partner will not go to counselling with you to challenge this.
Many couples face a lack of sex in their relationship and it can be explored and mended but usually our patterns are very set and it is hard to break them without outside help. That you cannot talk about this increases the isolation at the heart of your relationship and perhaps your partner is also experiencing this. You are staying out of fear of the loss of the ideal family and your partner seems to be in this relationship out of convenience. Is this really good enough for you? I wonder if you talk to friends about your situation and what advice you are getting? If you decide to leave, you will need a lot of support and this means bringing more people into your inner circle – indeed with the lack of intimacy and care in your life, increasing your inner social circle would seem a necessary action anyway.
Make a practical decision to give your daughter the stability of a mother who can take hard decisions, but do not carry guilt – you have tried your best and now it is time to let go. As your daughter goes into adolescence, she may struggle with separated parents but if you do your part to be as sane and stable as you can, she will come through this period. Confidence comes from having faith in ourselves and taking actions and making decisions that are for our greater good.