Should we stay together?
Hi, I'm 49, been living with my girlfriend for nearly 12 years. I like her, as a friend. But for as long as I've known her I've felt we lack something. I had no relationships before I met her. The essential problem is we've never had sex (she has had sex before she met me but I've never had sex at all) and I've never felt any desire or romantic feelings for her. What I do feel for her is sympathy: she seems so desperately needy, so scared of being lonely on her own, and whenever we've discussed splitting up she gets teary and upset, which I can't stand really - I do care about her. But neither of us is really very happy. I met a woman 6 years ago when I was away for a couple of months and felt real desire and a real connection: I did nothing about it and made sure I didn't get back in touch afterwards, not wanting to hurt my girlfriend, but still I think about her quite a lot. I find myself becoming more cynical and less sociable and optimistic as I get older. Maybe that's normal, but I can't help feeling that life would seem very different from the perspective of a good relationship, or even if I were on my own again: at least then there'd be less of a sense of constraint and hopelessness. Perhaps I'm wrong about that though. We both feel the lack of excitement, desire, shared attitudes and interests, and we both know I think that we should split up, indeed we've said we'll split up many times in the past when we've discussed things, but still we're together. What can we do? Would counseling help me? I doubt it, having had it before - nice though it is to be listened to it seems more like an indulgence than helpful. Can anyone advise me?