What To Do When Relationship Is Stale
Dear Tilly, I am a 53 year old female whose been in a relationship with a 63 year old man for almost 6 years. When we first started dating he was loving, attentive, talkative, and I really felt that I had hit the jackpot. I was so happy. After about 6 months, he began to withdraw, became moody, started stopping at the bar where he’s a member, didn’t talk, we didn’t do anything anymore like we used to. I try to talk to him over the years when I’ve had enough of it. About 3 years ago, he told me he wasn’t attracted to me anymore and he didn’t know why. I tried to get him to think it through and talk to me. After awhile, he said he didn’t know why he said that. About a year after that he told me that he still loved his exwife (who divorced him after an affair). I moved out at that point. After about 8 months, we started dating again and things seemed to improve again…..for about a year. Then he went back to being distant and aloof. We don’t talk. We have never had intercourse because his penis is severely crooked. I was okay with that as long as he was attentive in other ways. That’s gone too.
A little background: He has two adult children. He is entranced by his beautiful daughter. Only time I ever saw him cry was when she told him she was moving 1000 miles away. When we are with other people, she’s all he talks about. His son is second in line, he loves him but doesn’t have the closeness with him as he does his daughter. I have flown her home for a surprise father’s day gift and again on another birthday. I get along very well with her. My issues is that he capable of showing me the same love and affection he shows her. I”m not jealous of her but of the attention he shows her that he doesn’t have for me.
I have three married adult children. I have 5 grandchildren including a set of twins. He’s good with them all. I like to have them overnight to give my kids a break and to spend time with the grandkids. I couldn’t do it alone especially with the twins. So he a big help with them. I own the house we live in. He pays have the mortgage and utilities in a shared checking account that we have linked to our own personal accounts. We transfer every week into the joint and I pay the household bills from it. Our personal bills, i.e. car payment, cell phone bills, credit cards are paid from our personal accounts. So he’s a big financial help.
He does the laundry, washes the cars, mows the lawn etc so he’s a big help around the house. We go out to eat at the local pub and occasionally to other restaurants (nothing fancy or romantic) so he’s a good companion as long as it’s the two of us. When we are with other people, I disappear. He talks to everyone else about his daughter, his job, his work, golf and other sports, and he becomes full of himself. He commands the conversation and if I try to get a word in, he ignores it. Once when we were out with another couple and I was talking, he told me to quit boring them. He did apologize the next day blaming it on excessive alcohol but I don’t want to do anything with other people because he treats me this way.
I would classify our relationship as practical. So what’s the problem? I’m lonely. We don’t touch, hold hands, look at each other in “that way”, never say endearing terms to each other, never playful and we never snuggle or cuddle. He just doesn’t want to. I have tried to encourage him but it’s obvious that he doesn’t want to so I just don’t bother anymore. I long to be held sometimes. Most times I’m okay and just feel numb but there are other times I just want to have someone tell me I’m attractive, or are in love with me. Like someone wants me in that way.
He’s confessed that he’s discussed his problems with me to his secretary which I think was very inappropriate. We only talk by email, very rarely face to face. When it is face to face, he ends up getting mad and walking out of the room. I have a good job with a lot of responsibility, I was a single parent, I had to learn life the hard way so I am a very strong person but he knew this when he started dating me. It seems that the very same thing that attracted him to me in the beginning is the same thing that is turning him off now. I know he loves me but in love with me in that way. At this point I feel the same way.
So to sum it all up, he’s there in a big way practically. I need his half of the living expenses. I love that he can help me with the grandkids. It’s great the he takes care of so much around the house and I really appreciate it. But there’s nothing that puts the heart into our relationship and I’m not dead yet. I’m not the sort to go out to a bar by myself or be disloyal to him although the thought enters my mind a lot, I just can’t do it. I don’t talk to anyone about this because it’s not their issues and I’m kind of private when it comes to my problems. Any suggestions? Thanks. Stuck in Stale Relationship
Hello Stuck, This is a story I’m sure many people can relate to, a relationship that works in some ways but is very lacking in other fundamental areas. You are only 53 and have many years of life ahead of you and I’m sure it must be depressing to think that you will not have love and attention ever again should your partner remain where he is emotionally. It’s also unacceptable that he put you down in front of people. I sense such a yearning in you for more and it is a shame your partner does not hear this also. I suppose the big question to ask yourself is are you willing to risk the stability and support you have now in a quest to get what you really want. If you get to that point, the first step would be to tell your partner you can’t live like this and for you to stay, things have to change. The next step would be to really vocalize your needs. Doing it with a counselor may be helpful if your partner would go with you. Or you could go alone and get help in speaking up and communicating your needs in a way that’s healthy. It’s possible if your partner knows you may leave him, he will be inspired to treat you better. But of course the opposite could happen and t’s up to you if you are willing to take the risk. The truth is its a big world out there and there are many good men who would value a woman like you. Freeing yourself and being alone for a while would not be easy. The question is are you ready or willing to do that. The alternative is to remain where you are and be resigned to a life without love and affection and appreciation. Many people do this, it’s a choice. Some people compensate by having other interests and other friends away from the unsatisfying home life. You are at a big turning point in your life it seems – I’m glad you wrote it – that’s a great start. Do you have any friends you can confide in? I wish you all the best in tackling this……love Tilly