Question: Dear A.; How do I cope being in a sexless relationship? My boyfriend and I have been together for 1 year. He was previously married (the marriage ended when he found out his wife had an affair). Sex was great for the first two months, then it dropped off. He does not touch me, caress me, hold me or initiate sex with me. He has no difficulty joining in when I please myself and, in fact, he encourages it. He says that he has no sex drive; no desire for sex AT ALL yet if I initiate he will get his fill. I have stopped initiating because I am feeling undesired by him and quite frankly I am tired of this. We are building a house together. Things progressed very quickly for us. He knows I love him however he is unable to say the same. I am seeking counseling as I don’t feel he is ready to seek his own (he received counseling only after his marriage failed). We have a problem. I don’t believe that his in ability or lack of desire is an issue for us. He knows how I feel; how upsetting this is to me yet he is unwilling to work on this issue (when I asked him what he was prepared to do about it, he was unable to answer the question). He tells me he is stressed or perhaps its the meds (he no longer takes medication and hasn’t for the last four months). He says that we need to work on this together and this his “drive” may or may not return and that I will need to make the decisions whether I can live with that or not…that was six months ago. I believe he harbors fear; fear of getting close and letting himself go..a fear that if he allows himself to get close that I will hurt him…somehow, someway. He is 53; I am 45. I don’t want to go outside the relationship to have my needs met, but he truly leaves me little choice (I, of course, will end the relationship before that happens). I love him more than anything but at the same time, I am not prepared to stay in a sexless relationship. I will broach this subject again with him once I have had a couple of counseling sessions however, I am not so sure my “emotions” will hold out until then. I am very hurt, frustrated and confused…does he not value our relationship?…I feel at present that we are “just friends”…”roommates” and nothing more…that he does not see me as his life partner, a woman who he will love. He is good to me in so many ways except one…the one way that I simply can’t live without. A.
Answer: Dear A.: As often happens here, you have answered your own question. You simply can’t live the way your guy dictates. For some, a caring partner is enough but for the rest of us…mutually inspired sexual interaction is a natural, healthy way to express love and we need it for physical and emotional comfort, reassurance and balance. Your guy is, on one level, deliberately starving you to death. Yes, that’s an overstatement to make a point but do you find some truth there?
Knowing how traumatized he is and “why” isn’t the answer. He can’t even verbalize loving you much less back it up physically. He may be attached to his defense system and want to keep it in place. If that is the case, counseling probably isn’t going to be the answer for him.
Counseling may help you move on. Even though it probably won’t help you accept the unacceptable. You are on two different pages. Blessings, Luise