Hi Dr. Darcy, I am currently in an 8-year relationship. My partner is 13 years older than me. I am 28 and she is 41. We met when I was 19 and she was 31 years old. She has been my first and only partner. I have never been with a man or another woman.
Our relationship has never been typical. We connect on an intellectual level but not really on a physical. What attracted me was not her physical beauty but her intellect. I am not as physically attracted to her as she is to me so I always felt I settled in that department. So the typical moments of affection do not exist between us after about the first year. We do not have much of a sex life and we both deserve someone that feels that physical attraction towards us. I am going through a lot because for a few years now we have been growing further apart. I want to explore and she not so much.
We have been cohabiting for about almost 5 years. She is very involved with my family and they and I love and care for her, she is a beautiful person but it seems like for the past couple of years we have been growing a part. Maybe the age gap is becoming more obvious…
I am scared to move on but understand that it’s a part of life; people break up and move on. I am a doer and she is a procrastinator, her ability to follow through on things is taking a toll on our relationship. I love her but cannot see myself marrying her, however can see myself raising children with her (same parenting style)…
I want her in my life. I refuse to be unfaithful and [I’m] just really scared to move on… I am really depressed about this and desperately need advice.
You know the answer to this. It’s time to move on – there’s no question about it. And while your age was within the confines of the law at the time that the relationship began, I can’t help but feel a little miffed that your partner took advantage of someone who did not have the life experience to enter a committed relationship with, uh, a 31-year-old! The law is designed to intercept situations like the one that you entered 8 years ago. That it happened to be legal does not negate the fact that it was somewhat gross on her part. Now let me try to calm down long enough to discuss ending this relationship.
When two people enter a long-term relationship, family members generally connect with each respective partner, making a breakup further reaching than if both of you had been kids when it began. Nonetheless, I’m sure no one in the family would opt for you to stay together exclusively for their comfort. I can tell you right now that I have in-laws that I would absolutely remain close to regardless of whether my sibling’s marriage ended. Thus, this is not a reason to stay stuck.
You entered the relationship before you knew better. Having had no relationship or sexual experience, you followed her lead and you now find yourself in this relationship that has long since passed its expiration date. Perhaps she was Ms. Right Then and is not Ms. Right. The difference between then and now is that today you are a grown adult (albeit, still within the criteria of ‘young adult’) who has enough maturity to know the necessary ingredients for a long-term relationship, and Sister, let me tell you: Physical attraction is fundamental.
In closing, let me caution you against trying to keep her in your life post break up. Only lesbians try to do this and it’s like wanting to keep an empty bottle of gin in your purse after you’ve finished a detox program. Not a good idea, particularly if you want to stay off the sauce. Let her go, let her heal and for god’s sake, don’t even think about having children with this woman (“I love her but cannot see myself marrying her, however can see myself raising children with her”). You still have some growing up to do, even at 28.
Writer’s Stats: Female, lesbian.