I am in a long-term relationship (9 years!). We are a great team and true partners. When we met I knew that if I chose him things would change drastically. They did! Since I have been with him, I was finally able to overcome my depression and eating disorder, I earned two university degrees, together we traveled the world and lived in three different continents. Even so, sometimes I have the urge to break up, leave a track of destruction and be an adventurous huntress again. I have to mention that our sex life is a zombie—just about all but dead. During sex his eyes are glowing and everything, and I am just frigid and think about the book I would prefer to read instead. I keep wondering if perhaps we are only very good friends and not lovers anymore. I am so confused, that I don't get what my guts are trying to tell me. Should I stay or should I go? Any ideas, queens of Smitten?
Wow. Okay. Awesome self-examination and very brave self-reflections. It is clear to us that you are ready to take real action on this because you’re looking the issue straight in the eye. You are not trying to make him the bad-guy who is holding you hostage. You’ve given him credit for all his wonderfulness, and are honestly looking at the facts of the situation. You two are obviously fantastic partners—you love each other deeply, and seem to respect each other. But the lack of sexual desire on your part combined with the urge to be free to roam is ringing loud and clear.
This situation brings up a question of priorities. What are the most important aspects of a romantic relationship for you? Trust, friendship, communication, passion, honesty, laughter, intellectual debate? In our fantasy worlds we get to have it all—perfect communication, laugher, chemistry, income, orgasms—but in reality no one can be everything to us or for us. You knew from the start sex was not your priority in this relationship. But now, nine years later, facing a future devoid of passion and lust seems like a pretty major compromise. If your binds of monogamy state that he is the only person you’re allowed to express your sexual energy with, and you’re not compelled to ever do it, that’s a huge loss. Plus it’s not really fair to him to be going through the motions while trash-talking him in the privacy of your mind (can you imagine if someone was doing that with you? Ouch).
Even when the sex is good, monogamy can be a real bitch. There is something just so delicious about going to a party and knowing that anything, anyone, could happen. Being attached means you lose that enigmatic potential. Even if there’s no one you actually want to make out with, just knowing you could is so titillating. The chase, the butterflies, the unknowns of a potential new lover adds a distinct zip to existence that nothing else comes close to. Some women are born huntresses and being free to hunt feels downright amazing.
In light of all this, we’re going to suggest something radical: How about proposing a three-month open relationship experiment? There is so much that is good in this union, but your desire for freedom and passion is undeniable. Instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, why not ask for what you need? You and your guy have nine years of trust under your belt. You love each other deeply and have a history of working through challenges. If any couple could negotiate this kind of unknown and potentially annihilating territory it’s you two.
Perhaps just the feeling of freedom is really all you are craving. Maybe being allowed to make eyes with, make out or make love to someone else will be enough to fire up some fresh chemistry with your man. You might not even need to consummate the act. Perhaps knowing he’s free to do as he pleases will spark a flame of jealousy and kick-start fresh passion. What is apparent is that you both need a breath of fresh air. Nine years is a long time. At this point, you’re likely taking each other for granted. That’s not sexy. But before dumping him, we challenge you to find a way to revitalize the relationship and experience your whole self inside it.
You two could set up the open experiment any way you see fit. Time frame, allowable acts, disclosure or secrecy are all on the table. Take your time to work through the details knowing that uncomfortable feelings will arise. Let honesty be your guide with each other and with whomever else you get involved with outside the relationship. Whatever you choose to do, we encourage you to get creative and look beyond the traditional setup of relationship. Because the writing is on the wall, it’s just no longer working for you.
Good luck. You MUST let us know what you decide.