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March 2, 2015

Ask Me Anything: How Important is Sex in a Relationship? {Weekly Advice Column}

couple in bed

 
 

Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected].
I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Dear Erica,

I am a married 37-year-old woman with two kids.

My life is really perfect—I love my job, my children are healthy and my husband is great. The only problem is, I don’t like having sex with him.

When we were first together, our sex life was fine—nothing amazing, but it didn’t bother me. But the more time has passed, the more I realize he doesn’t touch me the way I want to be touched and I’d rather he just didn’t touch me at all.

Though it makes me sad to think at 37 my sex life is basically over, I have no desire to cheat on him—it wouldn’t be worth and it and I couldn’t stand the thought of hurting him.

I have tried so many times and in so many ways to communicate what I want to him, but he just doesn’t get it.

He is very mechanical when it comes to sex—never looks me in the eye or spends any time connecting emotionally. It leaves me feeling angry and lonely and wanting to avoid the whole situation altogether. When I do that, though, he starts getting really mad at me, so I have sex with him just to keep the peace.

Then I feel even more mad.

It’s all starting to build up into a terrible resentment. I wish we could just take sex off the table altogether. How important do you think sex is to a relationship anyway?

—Don’t Want Any

 

Dear Don’t Want Any,

I think of sex as the glue that hold romantic partnerships together, but if a couple’s sex life isn’t healthy—as you’ve seen—it can become a wedge between them which prevents true connection.

As much as you would rather just avoid this problem, it’s not going away, and the longer you let it fester, the more damage it’s going to do to your family in the long run.

Don’t delude yourself, your husband knows something is wrong too, and likely feels as isolated and hurt by it as you do.

I would encourage you to try therapy, ideally with your husband, but alone if he won’t go. You have to discover new ways to express yourself so that you can feel heard. Once you figure out how to do that, you might be surprised how quickly the loving feeling returns.

As I’m sure you know, married sex is not simply a physical interchange between two people, but a reflection of their willingness to be open and vulnerable with each other. Once the heat of initial passion fades and kids and jobs begin to wear us down, sex takes more work—but as the foundation of your relationship and your family, it is well worth the effort.

*

Dear Erica,

I have liked this guy for a long time. We call each other “best friends” but I want it to be more. When we first met, we had a brief physical relationship, but then he got scared (he said) and wanted to dial down the intensity. Now we do all the things a girlfriend and boyfriend do except have sex.

This wouldn’t bother me so much, but it hurts me to see him go out with other women. Since I agreed to just be his friend, I feel like I can’t say anything about it. He knows it makes me mad, so he hides where he goes and who he goes out with, which then makes me even more angry. I mean, if we’re “friends” he should tell me everything, right? Or at least not lie to me.

Everyone I know says we are the perfect couple, and that it’s so stupid that we not together. I don’t know what to do or where to go from here. I love him and don’t want to lose him in my life, but I can’t go on like this.

We’ve tried “taking breaks” but it was too hard for both of us and we just ended hanging out together again. Why can’t he see that we should be together? Should I wait around and just keep hoping things will change?

What else can I do?

—Frustrated

 

Dear Frustrated,

For whatever reason, you and this guy are on two different pages. You want to be his girlfriend, he only wants to be “friends.”

This puts you in a tough situation. You get to stand by and feel rejected every time he dates someone else and then be lied to about it to avoid any inconvenient feelings on your part.

As the saying goes; with friends like that, who needs enemies?

I have no idea why this guy is not interested in a real relationship with you, but based on the fact that he isn’t—and that fact alone—you shouldn’t be together, either as friends or otherwise.

Stop torturing yourself and move on. Pick up the phone and call your real friends so they can help you grieve this loss and then find a guy who gives you everything you need, not just bits and pieces.

 

Relephant: 

Ask Me Anything: Husband Not Attracted To Overweight Wife. {Weekly Advice Column} 

 

Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Tina Franklin at Flickr 

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