Question: Dear Luise: I’ve been in a 4-year relationship since I was a teenager and I am now wondering if I am taking the right direction in life. We get along great. Better now that we have lived together for a year and a half, but I am becoming bored and frustrated. I feel like, sexually, we are going nowhere. He complains that we don’t have sex enough and I can’t even talk to him about how I feel about the whole situation without him getting angry and defensive. I want more out of the relationship, sexually, and otherwise. But my issue is that I can’t communicate with him. I want to, though, so I can improve our relationship. Maybe it is the way I say things but he always gets defensive. There are even nights when I come home from work that I don’t want to be anywhere near him. I just don’t know what to do. I am so frustrated with it all. I feel like I could get more out of life. But I am in love with him. I don’t know. I am just lost. F.
Answer: Dear F.: I have a problem putting together your statement that you get along great, even better since you started living together, with the rest of your description of your relationship. It sure doesn’t sound great to me.
Those who give up their freedom too quickly and/or at an early age, often come to where you are. The years of exploration and to some degree, the growing up process that brings us to maturity, are often bypassed.
Finding a man who is communicative and who shares his feelings, hopes and dreams with us and is interested in ours…isn’t always an easy assignment. In my experience there aren’t that many of them around and we have to be mature ourselves and get our own priorities straight before we know what we want.
There may be a few women who don’t seek any of that and who don’t offer it themselves, but lots of us thrive on it. The way you describe your guy’s behaviors and attitudes and your reactions to them, it doesn’t sound like you are a match. His defensiveness is probably due to the fact that he has no idea what you are talking about and has zero interest in going there. More often than we realize, a relationship can be just fine for one person when it’s not working at all for the other. And leopards can seldom change their spots, even if they want to.
Unfortunately, loving a man doesn’t necessarily mean you will find living with him a never-ending adventure in mutual expansion. Love is love but partnership usually requires other qualities to be factored in. A deep interest and commitment to mutual understanding and growth isn’t as common as we might hope. If that’s where your values lie, you aren’t going to get very far alone. It’s hard work, even with a partner, but for many it’s still “the only game in town.”
Talk to and with him and let him know that you are on a relationship desert and if he is satisfied with what you have, you can’t settle for that. If he has no idea what you’re talking about and tries to cover it up with defensiveness, you have your answer. If he’s sincerely responsive, counseling will probably get you around the corner. Blessings, Luise