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RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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I have written off sexual attraction to my now husband since

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I have written off sexual attraction to my now husband since our first kiss over 11 years ago, believing strongly that relationships between people who respect each other and are largely compatible will develop into something more important than physical desire.
At the time I was 21, recently (at the time I believed temporarily) dropped out from university and struggling with a difficult and aggressive divorce between parents with an emotionally volatile relationship, who ultimately took 6 years to finally divorce while sharing the marital home while my father conducted a secret affair - this resulted in a son we found out about 18 months after he was born.
With hindsight I feel I was looking for emotional support and stability and this presented itself in the form of a slightly older man who is and was a wonderful, caring and kind person.
In the back of my mind I think I believed the relationship would be only temporary, as dispite his wonderful qualities there has never been sexual attraction or a feeling of chemistry on my part.
I would feel terribly guilty about this while convincing myself that maybe this is what real, true love is infact built upon.
The idea of growing old with someone like him seemed like the more mature way of building a secure and fulfilling relationship, where 'silly' teenage attractions for someone on a physical level would grow over time through a deeper, more emotional connection.
I am not naive, I do not believe that any relationship can sustain the (often destructive) physical infatuation experienced at the start and often between lovers with a low level of actual compatibility, but my concerns now, 11 years later, are that I am generally unfulfilled and unhappy within my marriage as a whole.
We added many (again naive and hopefully optimistic these would help deepen the relationship to a level the physical side would finally develop) events to our lives 5 years ago which unfortunately have revealed a general level of incompatibility where our life styles and wants are concerned:
After two years of his asking me, I agreed to his requests to try and start a family as he strongly believed (and I wanted to believe) that it would be a wonderful and life long adventure. Because at that time our lives and drivers were muh more similar, I truly believed he was the love of my life but that sex didn't matter in the long run - it would come like I had heard from so many older couples and a very small group of friends who have contact with people in arranged marriages.

We decided to relocate to his home country of Norway (from a UK city) but the job he wanted was based in an extremely rural area near his large family on the West Coast. Our discussions over the previous years were to relocate to a city so the transition would not be so hard, but unforeseen circumstances with his employers meant we moved with considerably less capital than expected so mutually decided the best route would be to locate to a cheaper rural location near his parents and siblings.

That was five years ago, in that time we have experienced many stressors such as my leaving my career and excellent job to move to Norway during my maternity period, our wedding in London shortly before we left, moving in with a parent in law for 10 months while we had our beautiful daughter, finding and renovating our first home while caring for a 6 month old, learning a new language, realizing the loss of family friends and my usual support network during such a key time, developing what I now consider to have been post natal depression, which in turn resulted in a negative transition in the dynamic of the relationship between my husband and I; he believes in tough love and (has admitted since was a bad thing to do) would tell me I had changed from an ambitious, capable and very social person who could do anything to one he was actually disappointed in, struggling to cook meals, shower and take care of our baby. I found the whole experience to be somewhat traumatic and had periods of feeling like Inwasn't properly awake, unable to focus and constantly feeling I was failing at all the wonderful opportunities and support for a new life I had been given by my husband (and his very loving and supportive family).

I have been very lucky and most of our friends (not all, some have voiced concerns for me including my immediate family) believe we are 'living the dream'.

Despite a hectic return to work once my daughter was nearly 2, which involved a 150km daily commute, followed by my giving up the contract to try to help what I believed at the time was long term depression causing a lack of libido and continued disinterest in sex, even kissing my husband, resulting in 8 months of unemployment - I now have a good, well paid job and am flourishing finally. I have had to admit to my husband I do not want any more children and that I am concerned I do not love him in the right way. We have a great family but am I wrong to

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this sad and frustrating reality you have been facing for this long.

Customer: Hi Rafael, thanks for taking the time to come back to me.
Customer: these are all decisions willingly entered into, I am just not sure (an have never really been sure) that they were entered into wisely.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome, thank you for joining the chat.

Customer: I ran out of space but the point of my long back story is that I have been believing any failures with libido are due to physical issues on my side, as our emotional connection is (usually) a good one. He is one of my greatest friends and a good man, but the last five years have been one or two compromises too many, combined with a realisation that sometimes being as different as chalk and cheese can be stressful rather than complimentary in the wrong environments.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What you describe is a very sad history, and unhappily not an uncommon one, many people, specially women do strongly attach to boyfriends, or to look for a person who could play such role and make things works, as a way to escape from pain experienced at their families of origin. many times it is about neglect, abuse, any form of dysfunction, but deeply affecting them as children, fuelling their longings for stability, love, protection and real fulfilment.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see.

Customer: We have recently had a long time apart (due to our separate business commitments) though this is never usually longer than 1 or 2 weeks at a time. Since the spring time he has had to travel more than usual though we still see each other regularly at home between trips. Our relationship is generally greatly improved to a year ago, but in my time apart from him lately - and especially with a recent 2 week trip alone back home to family and friends - I am realising I am yearning for emotional and physical independence in my life.
Customer: I had a recent run in with a very old friend which after too many drinks ended up in a kiss - nothing more. It shook me awake that I have been missing something integral for many years and am concerned that I might end up being the kind of person who seeks physical fulfillment elsewhere. I do not want that.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Reality shows that compatibility are core levels is essential, at this must include the sexual, romantic and intimate areas. There is much people could develop, but without spontaneous real affection, passion and good connection at a physical-sexual-emotional levels,no matter how hard a person may try, it would not turn into a wonderful mutually fulfilling long term relatiosnhip.

Customer: The bizarre thing however was that in addition to guilt, I could not stop smiling. Since, I have felt alive again, awake, and a surprising level of calm and assurance descended over me. I started running every other day, waking up with a spring in my step, and confidence and belief (for the first time in a long time) that I am ok, happy, social and capable.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, and it makes perfect sense, since repressing a core aspect of yourself would never help you to take good care of yourself, nor of your relationships. Reality cannot be just number. Attaching to hopes and expectations without facing reality, acknowledging it and working on it, would never lead to something truly stable, fulfilling and healthy.

Customer: I am not looking for a relationship - it is the sense of independence that is attractive to me right now. I am not interested in the turmoil and ups and downs that dating and new relationships will bring, but have some grave concerns.
Customer: Ok, I need to read through your responses.... Am doing so now.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You have realized that what you feared was not there within you, was always there but repressed, numb, that you can be more whole, and finding out that is very powerful for sure.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :


Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You could develop great friendships with a person like your husband, but for a long life adult, romantic relationship, for healthy and fulfilling marriage, much more than that is necessary, and now you know that from experience.

Customer: Yes, it was a serious wake up call. There are considerable complications to our relationship however which are making me feel insecure about whether seeking independence for the sake of 'going off and finding myself
Customer: ' is a terrible thing to do to an otherwise very healthy and stable family life.
Customer: My daughter is embedded into our family, many tell us that my husband and I appear to have a lot of love in our relationship as aside from real intimacy (which we take part in but not as often as we should; he has needs and I have been trying to make it work to save this episode from becoming a reality one day, but which results in physical pain) we have what many consider to be an envious marriage; he is supportive, kind, intelligent, and tells me regularly (now) how much he loves me.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It is not easy but tough, only you know how challenging it could feel, but when I agree that stability and health are parts of your family life, they are not complete, they lack core ingredients to make them really stable, healthy and fulfilling, and not only for you as an individual, but for you as a couple and even for your children, since they are literally shaped by the way you experience and live your lives day by day.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see what you mean, but reality is that a healthy and fulfilling marriage does not develop nor grow from what other people think about it, nor from how good friends spouses could be with each other, or how much love one spouse may experience. Healthy and fulfilling marriages require "mutual" love, passion, a real deep connection that cannot be pushed or just created if it's not been there. People could fool themselves in their minds, but their bodies and hearts cannot be fooled that easily, they show what's really going on.

Customer: Our daughter is being raised in a very affectionate and physical home, we are both loving and tactile people, but it just stops on my part once things move to kissing or other forms of sexual intimacy. I find myself being attracted to others but have always made a decision I could not cheat, hence the recent experience back in the UK was a wake up call. The issue is this; I am realizing how desperately I want to build a life back in the UK, I have a great support network and friends in and around the city, and feel I want to focus on my career, daughter, friends, and family. I want to feel I am no longer making huge compromises for the sake of someone else, and instead start to grab life to live fully and confidently. However, I know this will be a huge shock to my husband, his family and friends, who have been asking for over a year when the next baby will be due. My husband and I have now laid the cards on the table but it has been a distressing experience. He described it as the worst day of his life, becoming incredibly sad and emotional. We have since been away as a family holiday (which he jokingly referred to as the divorce holiday, trying to keep his chin up) which was a roller coaster of frank talks, wonderful holiday moments, and surprisingly normal family life. I realise what an integral part of my life he has been, a true and wonderful friend, together with seeing just how much he loves me.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I can tell you as a professional, that most of those "perfect marriages" people see, use to be far away from really healthy and fulfilling at their core, because there are unresolved issues and missing pieces that cannot be left apart, no matter how hard you may try; if it's not there it would not work/ Obviously most people in such situation would do anything but admit reality, since they are unwilling to afford reality and its consequences. it's too tough, too much work and challenges to take,a nd most people do not want that at all.

Customer: we have agreed to try marriage counseling locally, but I am concerned it will not be able to address the route causes of my issues with our relationship, the physical side.
Customer: if we had had something in the beginning then I would not be concerned, but sex feels dishonest is something I find myself avoiding, which must hurt him.
Customer: he has told me he wants nothing more than to try and fix the spark which he believes was there originally (I've told him something was lost) as he loves me more than I could possibly know.
Customer: I have explained that for me the situation is two fold;
Customer: 1) I am not happy or fulfilled living in Norway, and ultimately if it was up to me I would be considering a relocation back to London or elsewhere the UK.
Customer: 2) Due to the stressors and compromises made over the last half a decade, something fundamental and integral for me has been lost in our relationship.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This should not be about what his family, friends or anybody else but you feel and experience, need and expect. Nobody should distortedly self-sacrifice in order to please anybody, even when it would be a very painful process, otherwise sooner or later, you would end doing things you could not repress that you would regret, consequence of denial, avoidance, repression and pleasing people but taking good care of yourself and life with full honesty, truthfulness and accountability with yourself and towards other people present in your life.

Customer: I have warned him that I am not currently confident that that important element can be recovered, but at I do love him dearly for the incredible man, friend and father he is.
Customer: The catch 22 in our situation is that now we live in Norway, and I agreed to come here weeks before the birth so she could be born near his parents and family, if our relationship does not work out and I do the selfish 'right thing' rather than the rut thing for the family as a unit, then I cannot move back to a new life in the UK without essentially abandoning my daughter, to see her every other weekend and during holidays. I don't think I could ever do that and be able to sleep at night, she is wonderful and a very happy child.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Real, professional, competent and ethical marriage counseling should be able to explore, identify and address every core issue, promoting insight, accountability and a proactive action, without pushing people into perpetuating marriage when it is not truly the best option, healthy and fulfilling for both spouses. It would help both to acknowledge reality and to be respectful and accountable, to come to term with reality and work on yourselves and personal issues, many times showing the need for individual counselign to work at that level, then marriage counseling could be more beneficial. Unhappily it is not easy to find a good, competent and ethical psychotherapist, even more if it is about marriage counseling.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If it is good therapy, it would be helpful and lead to work on reality, on taking good care of yourselves without denial, pushing, pleasing, nor any codependent trait.

Customer: So I essentially make my husband and best friend miserable, and disrupt my daughters life to 50/50 custody, but end up having to remain here anyway but this time alone and without the support network (I must assume) of my husbands wonderful family - who I am very close to. His mother is a good, close friend who regularly tells me how much she loves me.
Customer: i do not get to return home to my family, my friends, and my dreams of building up my career as an independent woman in the UK. That breaks my heart and makes all of these seem a little selfish and unnecessary pain for the two people I love most.
Customer: ok, need to go back and read your replies -
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This is tough reality, not easy solution for sure,and that's why you need to assess the pros and cons of each main option you have, but please be totally truthful with yourself, and serious about what you really feel you want and can afford now and in the long run, so you would not end self-sabotaging and undermining your personal life and the one of those you care about.

Customer: If marriage and potentially individual counseling cannot help address the core issues, then I guess the next best route would be to try a trial separation, I would move out of the family home into a nearby flat or rental and we split custody 50/50, trying to gain perspective on the best route forwards.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What I can tell you is this: if you do not do something about your reality now, and just adjust to things, "sacrificing" yourself , thinking it is selfish to also take good care of yourself, you would end finding yourself having to afford more pain and further suffering from unavoidable situations you will have to face sooner or later, around feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, repressed, self-neglected and pushed. The most painful discovery, could be that you find that your decisions could create a temporary peacefulness in your lives now, but leads to a bigger nightmare in the future, where not only you and your husband would suffer more, but your daughter, her personality, relationships and life get shaped by your choices and actions, getting into a similar or worse dilemma in her own personal life, since learned from you that she is not important too, that she is not a priority in her own life, but a partner, husband, child but not herself. Just remember how your parents' marriage ended, the affair, the other child, how it pushed you into this long term dramatic dilemma.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I agree, going carefully step by step would allow you to take the best possible care of yourselves and your responsibilities, without sabotage, and any form of manipulation. Counseling and psychotherapy help promoting insight, assertiveness, developing and improving skills around communication, empathy and more, but it cannot create passion, love, core connections between people-spouses if they do not happen to share them already.

Customer: Ok. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX to hear this other perspective. I would never want her to feel it was acceptable to go along with a relationship if it meant she was sacrificing parts of herself and her own goals to keep others happy.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :


Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Thank you for being this open here and for trusting me. Please take gentle care and consistent action with the right support.

Customer: should I avoid admitting to my husband that these feelings were missing at the start? I just feel it will be winding him while he is down.
Customer: thank you, XXXXX XXXXX and viewpoints have been necessary to allow me to see the other side of this situation and the potential negative consequences long term if I continue to ignore them. Thanks for being patient, supportive and understanding.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I do never suggest to use denial, avoidance or repression as tools to build reality or cope with difficulties or pain, even more when it is so important, essential to face reality in order to take full accountability for the past and the present. Unhealthy, codependent approaches lead to externally nice and apparent , conflict free harmony, but sooner or later, people have to afford the consequences from creating such illusions, and the bigger they get, the bigger their consequences and the extra pain too.

Customer: ok
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If a person truly respects, cares and loves you, such person would never push you to stay, to love him back or to sacrifice yourself for him, that is just the opposite of healthy - assertive love.

Customer: thank you
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Respecting, loving and taking good care of yourself is never selfish, but it is your number one need, right and responsibility, from there you could truly take good care of other people who deserve and need you love and presence, not in codependent but in healthy and fulfilling ways.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're welcome.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

(Please do not forget to rate session in order to close chat. Thanks).

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