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I'm a 40+ year old woman. I've been practically married to a man who will be 50 soon. No kids. Just a condo. We have not had sex in a very, very, very long time. It's been years.

We had a pregnancy scare eight years ago. Maybe it was a miscarriage. Or Aunt Flow was really, really late. But, I peed on the stick and we made arrangements to terminate. I was able to cancel the appointment a day or so before. We did a happy dance then kept our hands to ourselves. He kept talking about getting a vasectomy. I didn't think it was necessary but he hasn't wanted to have sex since then. I was ok with the arrangement for a year or two, but then I cheated.

I never told him. I live with the guilt but he's finally getting around to making the necessary appointment to get the vasectomy. I haven't asked why, yet. I think it has to do with a fight we had where he kept saying that tries to make me happy. It was a fight about money which means it wasn't really about money. I guess he thought it was about my being unhappy. We so rarely fight neither so of us particularly good at working through the problem. Or we never fight because we don't want to confront our problem. Maybe he thinks that a vasectomy will mean sex which will mean I'm happy. I plan to ask about it soon but I haven't because I realized that I don't want to have sex with him. I do want to have sex with someone, and soon. I'm bored going at it alone.

My problem is, how do I end what's been overall a great relationship? He's thoughtful. He cares about me very much. He honestly really does love me and does so much to show me. And I love him. He really does want me to be happy. But I am squiked out at the thought of sex with him again. We had a nice little companionate thing going. But that's not okay with me anymore.

I know that living alone after 20 years with a partner will be very challenging. We split the household duties and expenses right down the middle. He really does a lot to keep our household going. He's always a trooper for fetching provisions in the middle of winter. Then there's a mortgage for a money pit of a condo that we're upside down in (which started the fight that led to the vasectomy appointment).

I don't want to hurt him by cheating again. But I'm no longer sexually attracted to him. So it's time to end this relationship, right?

Please help. I'm losing sleep nightly thinking about this.

Gotta Make A Move

If your partner hasn't fucked you for eight years... and they're not bothered enough by that fact to broach the subject... you haven't cheated them out of anything when you fuck someone else.

But you didn't ask me to help process/frame/dispense with your guilt about that one-off affair. You wanna know how to end a twenty-year relationship that—sex aside—has long been and remains pretty great. He's a thoughtful partner, you love him, he loves you, and there's that mortgage to think about. All of which has me wondering why you would wanna end this relationship at all.

Okay, okay: You don't wanna fuck this guy ever again, GMAM, and you're worried he wants to resume fucking after a long fucking hiatus. But how do you know that? Because he's finally getting a vasectomy, GMAM? It could mean what you think it means, I suppose, or it could mean he thinks you want him to wanna start fucking you again and so he's getting a vasectomy so he can start fucking you again but he actually dreads the prospect of fucking you again just as much as you dread the prospect of fucking him again.

If I were a betting man, GMAM, I'd put my money on dread, i.e. he's only getting the vasectomy because he thinks it's what you want. And if I were you, GMAM, I wouldn't dread the vasectomy if he decides to go through with it. (And that seems like a big "if" to me.) An outpatient surgical procedure is unlikely to turn a guy who didn't wanna fuck you for the better part of a decade into a guy who can't keep his hands off you/his dick out of you. He could get the vasectomy, you could continue to avoid sex the subject and sex the act, and nothing could change in the end, i.e. he won't make a move to fuck you, you won't have to fuck him, everything post-vasectomy stays as it was pre-vasectomy.

But let's say he gets the vasectomy and then tries to fuck you—what then?

Don't dump him, GMAM, talk to him. Start by telling him you're happy with things as they are—you love being his companion, you love living with him, you wanna grow old with him, you hope to still be together when your mortgage is finally above water—and that you don't wanna reintroduce sex into the mix. You don't have to tell him you're not attracted to him sexually, GMAM, as that'll be implicit enough. Add that you don't mind if he has sex with other people—tell him you don't mind if he's already had sex with other people—because your relationship is a loving, companionate, and successful one, as you both know, but it isn't one that's defined by sex. And your relationship hasn't—at least in your opinion—been harmed by the absence of sex. Indeed, what you've been doing (or not doing) has been working and so you would like to keep doing (or not doing) what you've been doing (or not doing).

Then hear him out. It's possible he'll be relieved—my money is on relieved—but it's also possible he'll be hurt. Maybe he's wanted sex all along and either didn't think you did or couldn't find the words to ask for it. If that's the case, GMAM, you'll have to risk making your lack of interest in him sexually explicit.

And at that point, GMAM, the future of your relationship—and your mortgage—will be in his hands.