Knowing When It's Time to Leave
How do you know when it's time to leave a long-term relationship and how do you deal with heartache and bad feelings - even when you are the one who wants out?
Here are the quick facts. I am 46. My partner is 78. We have been together for 21 years and lived together for the last 7 years. We have never been married to each other. He fell and broke his arm in 1996 and lost his job. He was diagnosed with head & neck cancer in 2000. Went through surgery and radiation that left lingering serious side effects. Our sex life changed dramatically then. We went through a period of impotency but he regained enough that we could have some sort of intimacy. (Mainly my giving him oral sex.) We always hugged and kissed and spent time touching.
Last March he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had to have radiation. Part of the treatment is getting injections of a testosterone suppressant every 3 months. This means he is having the symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, weight gain, sleeplessness) and has lost all libido. He rejected me physically and emotionally and is not concerned with my needs for sex or physical/emotional intimacy. I have tried and tried and tried to reestablish some sort of relationship. He stays in bed til 2 or 3 in the afternoon and won't go anywhere or do anything. He spends most of his time watching news on TV. We used to go to the movies and he stopped doing that even. Everything has become too difficult or too scary. He only wants "safe". I am loving and attentive and treat him very nicely but I am dying inside. I am lonely and come home from work crying almost every day because I know what I am walking into. I feel that he has nothing left to give me. That I don't count. I have lost not only my lover and my companion but my best friend.
I am not high maintenance. In fact I am so low maintenance that it's almost no maintenance. I don't want fancy jewelry or expensive trips. I just want someone to hold my hand and give me a hug. Someone talk to me and take a little walk with. Someone to get up and go to breakfast with on a Sunday morning.
I have two affairs in the past year. One he knows about and one he doesn't. (Yes, you can call me bad names.....I am not proud.) I am at the point where I want out. I feel like I want my life back. There is just too much that's passing me by. I can't live this life another year or two or five. Not this way.
So, how do you know when it's time to leave and how do you handle the heartache and sadness and disappointment and bad feelings? If I didn't care, this would be easy. But the truth is I do care very much for this man. Just not in the same way that I used to 5 or 10 years ago. There is no passion left for me. I don't think I could feel for him again what I once felt.
Sorry for the long post. I wish life were simple and everything were black and white. I wish I had magic wand to make everyone happy.