- It’s normal to be physically attracted to people outside of your relationship, but the fact that you’re sometimes repulsed by your own partner’s physical advances is a red flag.
- Rather than believe emotional stability and sexual satisfaction are mutually exclusive, consider that you may be overcorrecting for previous emotionally-unstable relationships with your current one.
- Seeing a therapist and doing self-reflection can help you better understand your situation. Only then should you decide whether to stay in or leave the relationship.
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My partner and I (I’m 34) have been together for five years. I’ve never been sexually attracted to him, even though he’s an attractive person, both inside and out.
I thought this wouldn’t matter since sex seems like a dangerous reason to be in a relationship. Case in point: I’ve had amazing sex with people that I was in overly dramatic and unstable relationships with.
Recently, however, I’ve started to even feel repulsed by him even when he kisses me good night. He’s a stable, reliable, and trustworthy person, and we’re good friends.
I’ve also found myself overly attracted to people outside our relationship. I haven’t cheated, mostly because I wouldn’t want to hurt him, but the urge has been strong. I’m starting to feel afraid that it will always be this way. What should I do?
– San Francisco
Dear San Francisco,
Let me start with this: It’s really brave how frank you’re being about your relationship, and that vulnerability will help you sort this out.
Although it’s normal to be physically attracted to people outside of your relationship, the fact that you’re at times repulsed by your own partner’s physical advances is a red flag that you have some work to do in the intimacy and self-discovery departments.
The way you framed your current relationship, as one that’s stable but lacking intimacy, and your past relationships as ones that were unstable but sexually fulfilling, signals to me that you have come to see those two aspects — emotional stability and sexual satisfaction — as mutually exclusive. That’s not the case.
Rachel Wright, a New York City-based therapist said it’s possible you’re using your current relationship to overcorrect for past relationships you described as unstable.
“It’s like you found this person and traded sex for stability instead of finding that middle ground where you get both,” Wright said, adding that, as humans, unlike other species, we over-correct for past mistakes all of the time.
Before deciding the fate of your current relationship, Wright suggested you take some time to learn more about yourself and the root of your dualistic relationship mentality. Reading books, attending personal development workshops, and Wright’s top suggestion, therapy, could help you do that.
“There’s a reason why you’ve been with him for five years and never been sexually attracted,” Wright said.