“I’ve Lost all Desire for Physical Affection with my Partner of 10 Years”

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    December 18, 2023 at 1:10 pm #1127142

    From a LW:

    “I’m not really sure what I’m going through in my current relationship of 10 years; It can’t be something that’s unique, at the same time I can’t really find much information on this issue. Maybe I just don’t get it because I’m just your average most likely on the spectrum man.

    I have a girlfriend who I love very much and we have a very similar humour so we spend a lot of time joking around and making each other laugh, often bringing each other to tears. However we have quite different personalities/ love languages. She is 10 years younger than me and we grew up in totally different parts of the world. She’s an Irish/Iraqi Catholic from Dubai, and I’m a British born Chinese, who grew up in Vancouver, Hong Kong, and London. I don’t know any other couples with Arab/Chinese backgrounds so it’s hard for me to position us on the scale of what’s ‘normal’. I suppose we can both be considered “Third Culture Kids” so there are some overlaps in globalism perhaps. We also have a very similar upbringing; almost identical sets of borderline abusive family traumas, and on a daily basis share many spookily common life challenges.

    For every identical problem we face, we tackle them in very very different ways. Everything from washing the dishes to work expectations. I have to add that this isn’t a sort of issue that is just about doing things the officially correct way, some of it should just be common sense. For instance you can’t wash the grease off of a baking tray without soap. You can’t wash your hair without lather. You can’t pay for many things where we currently live without a credit card. Seriously strange to the point where I’m getting increasingly perplexed just writing this down.

    I used to think it was odd behaviour that has developed over time as she doesn’t sleep very much; she’s either working or worrying about things. When she does sleep I’ve woken to the sound of her grinding her teeth to the point where she has migraines in the morning and is almost totally debilitated. Seemingly trivial tasks give her anxiety and panic attacks and I know there should be a trigger~ but while I have a sense for what the trigger might reference, I often have no idea what the trigger itself is.

    Much as I don’t understand what’s happening underneath the bonnet, I do think she is some sort of alien genius. I can’t quite pinpoint what exactly it is that qualifies her as such but maybe some examples can help paint a picture. For context we are both architects working at different firms but encounter many parallel job requirements, problems, and proposal optioning. Suffice to say she is pretty unorthodox in the way she thinks about design.

    The way she communicates her design proposals has results. She wins many pitches and competitions… it’s truly uncanny.
    She will always get a job so long as she manages to have an interview. She will always get a very high salary despite doing very little research on the job requirements. In one circumstance she even forgot her portfolio but was able to obtain a job through just talking to her future team mates, moreover in that same interview she managed to gain something like 13% to the job title’s payroll.
    While I know many excellent designers, she intuitively understands what makes designs successful without herself understanding how building components work.
    She is the most genuine person I’ve ever met which constitutes a major part of my love and respect for her. Conversely this can make her quite a difficult person to work with given her fiery attitude and lack of tolerance for slack.
    She also somehow manages to do this without partaking in the typical politics that make a workforce toxic, oftentimes doing the heavy lifting herself when her team members (frequently) fail to meet her expectations. She can be incredibly private to the point where people don’t really know who she is, yet everyone confides in her. Sadly she doesn’t have many long lasting friends due to her inability to lower her social barriers.
    I do think she is quite brilliant but life with her is very painful. There are many tears, many panic attacks, many seemingly unnecessary fights over many otherwise commonplace life chores, and a total disjoint in our life priorities. I’ve more or less given up on getting involved with these issues with the attitude that whatever current argument we’re having ‘isn’t the hill to die on’. However this constitutes one of the reasons for a dwindling physical affection.

    Which leads to the subject of this email: I think I might be a cuck. But it’s not really what it seems. Since dating her 10 years ago I’ve actually lost all desire for physical affection with her. At the same time I often look at her and think to myself that she’s really beautiful. We hug, spoon and kiss each other. But she’s not really into sex as she has gynecological issues that make it quite painful. She frequently cries upon penetration. Combined with the fact that I don’t really understand how she operates on a daily level, my libido has almost entirely dropped to zero. I do love her and I do respect the way she carries herself through life. I just don’t understand her.

    As a result I don’t think we’ve progressed that far as a couple. For instance I haven’t met her parents yet on account of the distance, but also as I think her dad’s anger management issues has put her through hell so have been a bit reluctant to meet them. And while she has met my family, she’s very uncomfortable joining in my family’s weekly lunches.

    Our progress is painfully slow and I don’t know how to progress in our relationship. If we broke up now it would be heartbreaking but maybe it’s the right thing to do. However I know this is something she would never accept and I’m about 90% certain that she’ll fall into a deep depression if this route is taken.

    What steps can I take to speed things up?

    December 18, 2023 at 5:46 pm #1127151

    I definitely think you should break up.

    December 18, 2023 at 6:25 pm #1127154

    You have been trying to make this work, likely for the better part of TEN! years. You have lost sexual desire, have let lots of issues and problems go, so as not to ruffle her feathers, distress her. She is not doing the same or working on herself and your relationship. You can not fix this. I doubt even counselling would help. This has run it’s course. You deserve a healthy, happy relationship and partner that includes a physical component.
    As far as your concern that she will not accept a break up and will fall apart…oh well. She is responsible for herself and it sounds to me you have tried your best but this union is broken.
    I just left a similar situation . I had given and tried and made excuses for them etc,etc. and they would not even have a discussion about any problems or they would promise to get help but never did. They have lots of health issues and I felt guilty and agonized over leaving, but I came to realize that it was their attitude toward their problems and the way they treated me ( terribly ) ,which meant I had to preserve my own mental and physical health.
    I moved into my place 3 weeks ago and I feel amazing. I have not looked back. Rip off the bandage! This is your life, your choice.

    December 18, 2023 at 9:52 pm #1127155

    I don’t understand why you wrote paragraphs about her work ethic. You were maybe trying to show us what a brilliant alien genius this woman is, but she sounds like she is deeply mentally ill and needs help. People need sleep. Anxiety and depression can be treated by medical professionals. Ditto to painful sex. Have you ever asked her or talked to her about any of this stuff you just “don’t understand” after ten years together?

    Meeting the parents isn’t really that important if you don’t want to be with her.

    December 22, 2023 at 11:57 am #1127227

    So, what’s happened here is that you two don’t have the closeness and chemistry needed to maintain a healthy relationship and, as a result, the sex is gone. It won’t come back.

    You admire her, think she’s beautiful and intelligent, but you don’t “get” her, and you say life with her is painful and really frustrating. Shared experiences aren’t enough. This relationship lacks understanding, trust (I think you said you believe she’s cheating on you?), and she seems to have a lot of mental health issues she’s not properly treating.

    Just move on! You two don’t work as a couple. You’re staying with her out of a sense of obligation and probably longing for what you think is her potential. But you’re super unhappy. It’s more than okay to move on after 10 years when there’s no future here and the attraction has died. Tell her you’re not happy. You two aren’t working anymore. She’ll be okay or she won’t, but either way it’s not your fault.

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