My long-term girlfriend is in love with a woman but wants us to stay together

She has recently started a sexual relationship with a woman and refuses to understand why I am upset by the loss of the deep intimacy we shared

My partner of 18 years told me recently she is now interested in women and is no longer attracted to me, but that she still loves me and wants us to stay together. She has now said she is in love with a woman and they are having a sexual relationship. I have tried to talk to her about what the loss of sexual intimacy between us means, but she says I am only concerned about physical sex. I have tried to explain that what I have lost is the deep emotional connection that accompanies that intimacy. How do I get her to at least acknowledge that?

What do you want? Do you want to remain in a sexless relationship? You seem to be in a period of trying to process the change and what it means for you, but you should also know that you do not need to conform with her new conception of your relationship, or her plans for how it might change. Understandably, many people who are in the coming-out process can be very confused about what their new status means for others. Your empathy is laudable but, in fact, every relationship in her life will undergo a profound change, and the adjustments – for herand everyone around her – can be enormously unsettling. She may fantasise that things will remain as before, but that might be unrealistic – and is clearly not comfortable for you. While respecting her difficult path, be kind to yourself and sensible about your own needs. You may eventually decide you need to move on. If so, let her go lovingly, and do not allow her to make you feel guilty.

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Alex Vidal