Question: Dear Luise: I’ve read a number of the sexless relationship questions and I’m in a difficult situation. I met my girlfriend little over a year ago. She was pregnant at the time. I moved across the country to be with her. She had her baby (father figure is gone) and ever since I’ve been pretty patient about us having sex as she’s always tired. The problem is, it’s been over a year, we had sex less than five times ever since I moved here and I’m really starting to wonder what it’s going to be like 5, 10, 15 years from now. I love her dearly and she treats me wonderful, cooks, always caring and every little thing she pays attention to except sex. Her daughter is like my own daughter to me and wouldn’t question twice about adopting her in the near future. Her excuse is she’s always tired. Before she had plenty of energy even while pregnant. Now I’ve pretty much given up on asking, as she automatically *sighs* and tells me she’s tired if I try to get intimate with her. Please help! Y.
Answer: Dear Y.: Has your girlfriend seen a doctor and been carefully checked out for this “fatigue?” If not, get that taken care of first to rule out any physical problem. Give her the benefit of the doubt but it sounds like the old “Sorry, Dear, I have a headache” ploy to me.
Beyond that, if she gets a clean bill of health, you will both have to face the fact that she is probably not that tired. It may be important for her to believe that she is. If so, it may not be easy to move past her resistance.
If it turns out that it is psychological instead of physical, she’s the only one that can fix it and if she stays convinced there’s no problem, there’s no incentive to resolve it. A counselor would be needed…but that, too, can only happen when she faces up to what’s going on and beyond that…wants to address the cause.
You have given her incredible support during a tough time in her life. You relocated for her and you see her daughter as your own. Now, it is up to your girlfriend to show that she values the relationship as much as you do.
Communicate. Tell her that the two of you have to talk about this. It can’t remain a vague but constant problem of imagined fatigue. You just can’t stay indefinitely in such a dead-ended situation and she is being foolish to think that you can.
Tell her the two of you have to talk and face what’s going on, relationship-wise. And if she doesn’t know what’s wrong, you need a commitment from her that she will pursue it. Does she have the energy to do what she wants to do? If so, point that out. The truth is she probably doesn’t want physical intimacy and she doesn’t want to admit that. Why? What’s going on?
Once in a while when this happens, the other person is able to adapt to a sterile, non-physical existence but that is often because the other person, too, is emotionally damaged, sexually. Healthy, robust, young people usually need more than that.
Silence isn’t getting either of you anywhere. Confrontation may be the beginning of the end but there is no other way that I know of to proceed. Blessings, Luise