My girlfriend and I have been together for 10 years and love each other unconditionally. It’s perfect, except we haven’t had sex in eight years. She has no interest whatsoever. She told me years ago that she didn’t care if I hooked up with other women as long as she never found out, it was never in our home and I never had sex with the same woman more than once. It was cool until last year when I broke those rules. I met a girl I could see myself with long-term. We’ve been dating and she knows everything about my situation. Her little boy accidentally called me daddy the other day and it just melted my heart. How do I leave a woman and living situation I love to be with the woman I love and want to marry?
Accept your heart’s progress. You’re leaving a platonic love relationship for a love that embraces all of you, including your sexual desires.
After living a split life for years, being deeply connected to one woman might come as a relief. Stay conscious about your new commitment. When the going gets rough, as it can even in the best relationships, you might lean on the habit of finding emotional or sexual solace outside your primary commitment. Why? You have trained your heart to hunt for what’s missing. If you want your new relationship to work, pour effort into building on what you have.
Let’s say you and your new woman have an argument. You’re upset and want to feel better. It would be easy to dial your ex and convince yourself that you’re just curious about how she’s doing. Hearing her voice might flood you with good vibes. You could tell her about the argument you had with your new girlfriend and feel affirmed when she takes your side. Or you might hook up with a stranger and ride a dopamine high. Either way, you’re not evolving. You’re running backward into old coping mechanisms. Repeating past patterns won’t nourish intimacy with your new woman. Choosing love requires resisting habituated behaviors, but it will bring you into authentic love.
One method of investing in change is to admit out loud to your partner the struggle you’re experiencing as it’s happening. Imagine again that the two of you have had an argument. Be transparent. Say: “I want to run right now and that scares me. Can we talk about this problem in a way that helps me feel like I belong here with you? That’s what I need. I want to stay connected with you. What do you need?”
For deep transparency to work, you have to agree to engage honestly with your partner on a regular basis. That way when something difficult arises, you have a practice in place that invites you both to heal and strengthen your bond. If you remember that love is a journey, not a destination, you will relax into real love. That’s a beautiful gift to your woman, to yourself and to that little boy who recognized you as “daddy” long before you knew it as true.