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What is wrong with my relationship?
January 9, 2011 6:14 PM   Subscribe

RelationshipFilter: Is my partner addicted to porn, bored of our relationship or do I have fairytale expectations?

I ask you all in hope that I don't have to post a question to "Ask Cupid" or "Yahoo Answers".

There's no justification for it, because I am always ready and always willing. But I do admit to being a jealous type and we are having lots of issues in other departments that I best not get in to. He spends more time frequenting adult networking sites and porn blogs than he spends actually sleeping with me. He does this every day, but sleeps with me only every few days, and only when he's in the mood. At the start, we had a lot of sex, it was very exciting and it usually lasted a good while. Now it's just plain boring, and at the rate he looks at porn, I'm wondering if he is doing it to compensate for having to be with me, I feel as though he doesn't find me attractive, which makes it hard for me to get aroused thus making the sex unenjoyable. He never admires and touches my body and says how he loves it anymore, I mightn't have so many questions if it had always been this way, but it was actually a noticeable change. Is he just bored of me and is that normal? Or is this just what men do when they are comfortable? What can I do to save it? I do love him very much and I think he loves me too, but I think I might be hanging on to the past! I don't want to trap him with me.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
The problem isn't so much the porn, or getting comfortable (it doesn't sound like either of you are comfortable!), it's:

we are having lots of issues in other departments that I best not get in to AND I feel as though he doesn't find me attractive, which makes it hard for me to get aroused thus making the sex unenjoyable.

It sounds like the issues between you are making sex unenjoyable, and part of his reaction is to retreat into porn. One of the best lessons I've learned from askmefi is that if you have relationship problems, the two of you need to tackle them as a Team. Team You Guys has changed. Sit down and talk with him about how and why you feel like it's changed, and what Both of you can do to work on those problems Together.
posted by ldthomps at 6:28 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


we are having lots of issues in other departments that I best not get in to.

No, you best. Because if you're having issues in your relationship, that's likely what is driving his increased interest in porn and decreased interest in you.

Looking at porn by itself is not any sort of flag, generally, and is perfectly normal and acceptable in many relationships. But if this is coinciding with a genuine decreased interest in you and more and more withdraw from you actual sex life, you need to look at the bigger picture of what's going on. In other words, it isn't about the sex and porn.

Sure, sex in relationships fizzle, and that's normal. What you need to do is talk to him. Show him this post. See how you can address the other issues in your lives that might be affecting your sex life or, if it really is just him getting sexually bored, talk about how you might use porn to reignite your sex life.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:28 PM on January 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


"we are having lots of issues in other departments "
"He spends more time frequenting adult networking sites"
"Now it's just plain boring"
"He never admires and touches my body"

Yuck. DTMFA.
posted by abirae at 6:28 PM on January 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also, what Idthomps said.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:29 PM on January 9, 2011


Is he just bored of me and is that normal?

Falling into a sexual rut after you've been with your partner for some time might be common, but these things are not conducive to a good relationship:

1) He spends more time frequenting adult networking sites and porn blogs than he spends actually sleeping with me
2) He never admires and touches my body and says how he loves it anymore

It does not matter what other people do in their relationships. You have a right to ask for what you need in your relationship. Asking for what you need is the opposite of trapping someone; rather it gives them the information they need to make an informed decision about the relationship. It sounds like you need someone who tells you that he finds you attractive and is demonstrative about it. This man may or may not be able to give that to you, but you will not know until you communicate your needs to him.
posted by desjardins at 6:30 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Talk to him about it. Sex takes work, and maybe he wants the easy way out sometimes/often/daily/multiple times per day. Also, porn/solo time can satisfy a different itch than sex. You won't know unless you ask--but if you ask, you should be ready for whatever the answer will be. If the answer is something about your relationship, you'll need to be ready to work through that. But it could be something really simple, too.
posted by Terriniski at 6:31 PM on January 9, 2011


It's quite often the case that conflict in other arenas of a relationship translates into the sexual aspect of the relationship as well.

No, this is not "just what men do when they are comfortable," and men do not necessarily or even generally get bored with their partners sexually.

On the other hand, it sounds like this guy might be bored with you, and perhaps you with him. Maybe you're both just done with this one?

Love alone is not enough to make a relationship last.

You know who knows the answer to these questions? Him. Not us, him. If he tells you that this is absolutely normal and this is just how all guys are, he is either mistaken or shucking you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:33 PM on January 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or is this just what men do when they are comfortable?

No. That is what the kind of men who don't want to take a partner's desires and feelings into consideration alongside theirs, in or out of the bedroom, do when they're comfortable in the knowledge said partner will be too insecure to leave them.

Standing up for yourself is not trapping someone else into being with you. Remind yourself of that as often as is necessary, and then do it.
posted by Catseye at 6:34 PM on January 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'd wager that these unspecified other issues have a lot to do with the overall intimacy of the relationship-- and that's got a lot to do with the quality of the sex.

It would likely be worth both your whiles to sit down and figure out if it's actually worth trying to work through the other issues and salvage the intimacy. The sex part of it is a diversion.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:34 PM on January 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is not a "fairytale expectation" that a relationship would be sexually satisfying to both parties, but it is something you have to work for. (What is a "fairytale expectation" is that one's partner is going to read one's mind about what one wants and finds sexually satisfying--"I shouldn't have to ask" is not a realistic stance.)

It is not a "fairytale expectation" that a relationship should, when conflicts occur, provide a space in which each party can voice their issues and concerns and both parties can negotiate a mutually satisfying solution. But again, that's something both parties have to work for.

You know how people here are always recommending How to Be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo? That's because it's a really useful book for many, many people. Perhaps you as well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:49 PM on January 9, 2011


I don't know. Why don't you talk to him about these issues. He may think that you are perfectly satisfied but doesn't know because you aren't talking to him. Maybe he is exploring fantasies in porn that he doesn't feel comfortable exploring with you. Are you communicating to him that you want sex?

This is not to say that it is your fault. He could be an awful person that deserves dumping. But, talking to us wont get to the root of his issues.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:52 PM on January 9, 2011


nthing to sit down and have a talk. Ask him very frankly what is up. Ask about the "issues in other departments". If you take the initiative and open up the lines of communication it may be like clouds parting.

You sound dissatisfied with the relationship. The things you want out of a relationship - love, desire, communication - are very valid things to want. Ask for them openly and see how your partner responds. There's a chance that he is unaware of how his behavior is affecting you.

But this guy isn'y willing to have an open conversation, or can't provide you with the affection you desire, then by all means: DTMFA.
posted by abirae at 7:09 PM on January 9, 2011


You're getting some good advice, but considering that you are a) not entirely comfortable with his pornography consumption and b) well aware of the rate, it is entirely reasonable for you to ask him to be more discrete while enjoying it. It's not going to solve any problems, but it will let you better concentrate on what the issues with the relationship are, rather than the issues with his habits.

Also, I am mildly concerned w/r/t his use of "adult networking sites." That's not just garden-variety porn, IMHO.
posted by griphus at 7:10 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, he is a freak, dump him. Not joking.
posted by Patbon at 7:22 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to tell you to DTMFA. I'm going to make up my own acronym: YDHTPUWTS - You Don't Have To Put Up With This Shit.

No, this is not normal in healthy relationships. You are being treated badly and you deserve better. Regardless of what issues may be going on between you, he should treat you with respect and discuss with you, rather than retreating into fantasy relationships with others.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:27 PM on January 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now [sex is] just plain boring, and at the rate he looks at porn, I'm wondering if he is doing it to compensate for having to be with me, I feel as though he doesn't find me attractive, which makes it hard for me to get aroused thus making the sex unenjoyable.
I'm guessing there's a self-reinforcing cycle here: you don't feel like he wants you, as a result the sex is bad, so he doesn't feel like you want him, and as a result the sex is bad. He could be in exactly the situation you are.

Something probably kicked this cycle off to start with though. Maybe he is bored with you; we can't tell from here. Maybe some of the other numerous problems you allude to led to it. Maybe you can work on them; maybe you should just give up on the relationship. Either way, I think the stuff you ask about here is a symptom, not a cause.
posted by hattifattener at 7:43 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If he always watched a lot of porn, even when you guys first met and everything was all fantastic, that'd be one thing. (Contrary to beliefs, simply watching a lot of porn doesn't necessarily make him a "freak.")

But that doesn't sound like the case. It sounds like things between you have been getting tense, and he has been turning to porn instead of dealing with you. That's different - because it is something he is doing instead of dealing with you. It'd be just as much of a problem if he was up all night composing religious sonnets instead of watching porn, because in either case it's something he's doing instead of talking things out with you.

All you can do is talk to him about how this is bothering you. Not that the porn itself is bothering you, but that it feels like he's doing that instead of working things out with you. (Not that I'm saying you should learn to like porn if you just are icked out by it -- more that I sense that the problem is something other than the porn in and of itself.) If you get things back on an even keel and he's still watching porn, then you can have a separate conversation about how you personally feel about porn (i.e., you come to some kind of compromise about maybe watching the occasional naughty movie together), but I suspect what the problem is now is that he's doing all this instead of dealing with you, and it's the not-dealing-with-you that's the issue, not what it is he's doing instead.

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 PM on January 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd feel the same way you do, and would 'wobble' the same way you are. Porn use can provoke self-doubt and insecurity for a host of reasons but can be reasoned away with a bit of awareness and openness. I don't think adult networking sites are the same thing at all, as Griphus says above. It would make me jealous and angry. It would be a deal-breaker for me, for sure. From your descriptions of his heavy use of these sites, and the overall picture you paint of your relationship, I don't think a request that it stops will be respected.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:48 PM on January 9, 2011


Or is this just what men do when they are comfortable?

In my experience, men fart under the covers when they are comfortable. Men do what this guy does when they're assholes.

I think he loves me too

Don't you deserve to know for sure? You deserve a respectful relationship with someone who tells you and treats you like he loves you. Sit down and have a talk with him about porn and your sex life. Be ready to walk if you need to, because you deserve better!
posted by motsque at 6:57 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


As others have said, you really need to sit down and have a talk with your partner. Like, yesterday.

We can't answer your question. Nobody except for you AND your partner can answer your question, and both of you need to answer it. I think it's likely that your alluded-to "other issues" are what's driving this new issue, but you and your boyfriend are the only ones who can figure that out for sure.

As for my perspective on the issue that you've asked us about specifically (the porn/adult-networking issue): Although porn is a common thing for a lot of people to want to see, people in relationships need to be aware of their partner's porn comfort levels and act with the appropriate amount of discretion. And the adult-networking sites are an understandable jealousy-aggravator (although it might not be that he's actually looking for people to "network" with; it might just be that he's got a voyeuristic streak and likes the idea of looking at people that "really exist" as opposed to images that he knows are produced just for fantasy-related consumption). But my point is that you need to talk with him, to find out what's going on in his head and to let him know what's going on in your head, because you -- both you and your partner -- need to be in a place where both your needs can be met, and you need to find out whether your relationship is a place where this can happen.
posted by kataclysm at 10:42 AM on January 10, 2011


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