Dilemma: I no longer love my spouse as I should

Dawn French / 19 November 2019

A reader has fallen out of love with her husband and doesn't know what to do next



Dilemma: I don't love my partner

I’ve been married for 35 years, and realised several years ago that I no longer love my husband as I should.

We haven’t had sex for years, and I find it difficult to be affectionate. I tried to leave him last year but couldn’t go through with it. He is my best friend.

I feel a hypocrite for staying, but can’t find the courage to face an uncertain future. What should I do?

Dilemma: I can't leave my ill partner but I'm in love with someone else

Dawn French's advice

I am a big believer in listening to your inner instincts, and clearly you want to be out of this marriage, although you seem to want to retain the strong friendship. A tall order.

To start with, you need to go to counselling where you can both put all your cards on the table. I bet your husband will have strong feelings either way too. You need to listen, be honest and be kind. 
This is the respectful way to start the process of separation when you still like the other person, because it gives him a chance to process all the facts so that when the inevitable parting happens, he has been heard and included at least, and it isn’t such a shock.

Think of it as a courageous step to take, in order to honour the good relationship you once had. You may even salvage a friendship this way. That would be wonderful.

If that doesn’t go according to plan, resign yourself to this miserable situation and go shopping at Ann Summers.

Saga readers say...

'Be honest, unlike myself - just saying.' Roy, via Facebook

'Why live the rest of your life with someone you don't love anymore? If you are sure that is the case and that it isn't just boredom that can be fixed with some effort on both parts, then you should part ways. Life is too short to be with someone you don't care about anymore, it isn't fair on either of you, you both deserve to be happy. If you have both tried to "fix" the things that may have got you into a rut, and nothing has worked, then you owe it to both of you to go your separate ways, as hard as that may be.' Helen, via Facebook

'It's just a waste of two lives if it can't be fixed. You can't force feelings for someone if there are no feelings of love left anymore.' Pat, via Facebook

'Leave. I wasted years of my life and regret it now.' Dorothy, via Facebook

'Does commitment not mean anything anymore? Work at it!' Vijay, via Facebook

'Remember what you loved about them in the first place. Take time for each other. Make the effort to find that love again. Don’t give up on one another.' Susan, via Facebook

'If you still like each other as people I'd say think long and hard about the realities of splitting financially. If you're both 'minted' then that's not an issue. If you're thinking you still have a twinkle in your eye to meet someone else then yes pack your bag and let him get on with the rest of life so he can make decisions that are right for him.' Megan, via Facebook

'Take time out, see if you can rekindle your feeling. have date nights. If that doesn't work. separate.' Janet, via Facebook

'Make sure you tell other partner how you feel, keeping them in the dark is not fair. There is no going back once you have made the decision.'  Rebecca, via Facebook

Need your dilemma answered by Dawn French, Saga's resident agony aunt? Email in to web.editor@saga.co.uk and we'll pass your question on!
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