Question: Dear Luise: I have been in a two-year relationship with a good man, four years older and is living with non- Hodgkins lymphoma. He is a retired Doctor and we have not had sex in a year and I am going out of my skull! I am healthy and active and so depressed and feel worthless and he just laughs! I feel like we are just roommates! He does not want me to leave him. Help; I want to shoot my self! D.
Answer: Dear D.: The absence of sexual intimacy either works for both of you or it doesn’t. There’s no simpler way to put it.
Anguish over it is wasted energy. He laughs but that may reflect embarrassment. Laughter can be a defense mechanism and a cover-up for despair. Who knows?
He’s educated. He has studied anatomy and physiology, so he knows what you need and how to provide it in one way or another. For reasons of his own, both physical and emotional, he doesn’t have the energy or it’s not worth the effort. That may be hard for you to understand but when there is no interest, everything changes. Motivation to please someone sexually has a reciprocal side to it but he has apparently lost interest. He’s not pursuing getting it back and may feel or know that it’s futile.
There are many, asexual, devoted couples out there that do not see themselves as roommates. They are connected on a deep level and committed in a very real way that roommates know nothing about or are even remotely interested in. You either elect to go that route or you don’t. Neither way is “right.” You need to be true to yourself, your needs, your beliefs and your own concepts of relationship.
He has a physical disability, with an emotional component. Picture him in a wheelchair and unable to ever walk again. In that picture, imagine that you are a hiker and that long, backpacking trips with your loved give you deep satisfaction. Would you enter into a relationship with someone with no hope of his ever going with you? How much do you love him? What else does he offer? How can you be true to yourself? It’s like that. To sort it out, you may even need to enter into counseling. It’s not an easy issue to face and address because it can’t be resolved in the normal sense of the word. It can only be accepted, adapted to and compensated for. Probably none of that is very appealing to you and it’s all on your head, so to speak.
He has lost something and you must give up something. There’s a very radical difference between the two. One reflects no real choice and the other requires a choice to be made…voluntarily and at great cost. Blessings, Luise