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Ask Ashley, Relationship Enthusiast
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 18
Experience:  Having built my reputation in this area of expertise, I have conducted workshops on relationships. Let's discuss your issues.
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Dear, answerer, I have rowed badly with my partner. We are

Customer Question

Dear, answerer,

I have rowed badly with my partner. We are near to breaking up. I have hurt her and let her down. (not any kind of affair or infidelity). I threatened to leave her which I have done before. We are not sleeping together. My moods swing uncontrollably between remorse and anger. I am at the end of my tether, yet I instinctively feel that I want to make it up.

We are both divorced. I am 55 with grown up children, living independently. My partner is 50, has a daughter at university and a son of 17 who lives with us. Part of the problem is that I am jealous of the attention he gets. My partner is rather fastidious, exceptionally attentive to her job, quite the perfectionist, but much less of a workaholic than she once was. All the same, I feel the need for more of her time and more physical contact than she seems willing to give. I find myself supporting her when she gets stressed at work, or with her son, but it is at these times that she becomes more distant and less interested in sex, and this is a real problem. It is when things are most difficult that I seek the comfort of the physical side of the relationship. This has created a rising element of tension in our relationship over the past months and we are both very unhappy about it.

She says, very reasonably in my view, that she wants stability and support, even when things are tough, and that if I cannot promise to do that and really do so, we will have to split up. I feel increasingly secondary in her list of priorities, and I want her visible and physical affection, even when things are bad, as part of the continuing relationship. She reacts to external stress by building a wall, I want to smash that wall down, which just makes her reinforce it...and explosion! We've had about a dozen pretty bad rows over this, but now things are worse than ever.


How do I/we go about understanding the situation and creating a permanent solution?

Bill
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ask Ashley replied 5 years ago.

Ask Ashley :

Hello, Asker. Thank you for choosing JustAnswer.

I am very sorry you are going through a difficult time in your life.

The first thing I noticed is your threatening to leave the relationship. I think you have realized that in retrospect that this is an ineffective tactic to fix problems in your relationship.

Just reading how you have described your situation, it is clear to me that you and your partner need to communicate openly and honestly how both of you can benefit from whatever solution you work out. An effective exercise to do this would be taking a block of uninterrupted time everyday, and expressing to your partner what she does in your relationship that you are pleased with, as well as what she does in your relationship that you feel she needs to improve upon. Then, you switch and listen to her feedback. By making steady progress to resolving your issues, you will find things turning up.

I would also recommend the mediation of a marriage counselor to allow you to fully realize each other's needs.

Good luck, and please do not hesitate to e-mail me [email protected] I'd be interested to know how things work out for you. Take care.

 

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