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sexzual chemistry
October 21, 2011 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to get over some pretty big sexual chemistry if you really frigin love someone?

Long story short, there is someone who I have known for about 2 years exactly now. We met online. I really adored her, and she me, perhaps more so. She really wants to have kids, I have been on the fence about this for many years. I really like and value and active sex life. When we dated (the first 3 months we knew each other), she was really reticent about sex. She has been using anti depressants at times, and that may or may not have affected her sex drive at the time. It was really, really frustrating.
I broke up with her at the time related to kids and sex, and I know that was really hard for her. For quite a long time I know she was burning a torch for me. We worked hard on being friends, which I think was a lot tougher for her than I realized at the time. I dated some other people. Had exciting sex with them but never really fell in love. In the meantime I realized more and more what an awesome person she is.
We’ve slept together at times in the interim, and things were much, much better, although still a bit frustrating (both are true – amazingly better but still kind of tenuous – she was off the meds at the time). Last year we got back together for a few weeks and things seemed better in general. I moved out of town for a year though, and I think at that point she gave up. As soon as I was gone I began to miss her more than I ever expected to. We both had a really hard time while I was gone. I moved back to town and we have been trying to be friends since I’ve been back and things have been pretty good between us.
She’s been dating someone for the last couple of months. Initially I thought I was ok with that, but at a certain point I lost it, told her I really wanted to work things out with her and hopefully get married. I’ve come around to accepting the idea of having kids and a family. She decided to stick with the guy she was dating…and I can’t really blame her for that, I’ve put her through a lot, and she was very hopeful for this guy.
They broke up (very) recently. I just started dating someone new. The sex…is ok/pretty good. But really, I’m finding myself drawn back to this person who I really love. It’s not like I’ve never been more attracted to someone, or more turned on or whatever. I have, and I accept that. But I really, really love this person. It’s hard to compare anyone else to her, because we get along so well. I guess the most clear way I can say it is that I think I could be locked in a room with her for 24 hours and never be annoyed with her. She’s just a charming person. I’m 36 and never really felt this sort of love and loyalty for anyone before. That said, I’m really concerned about us driving each of us crazy or losing her as a friend if we try things again.
I know that sexual incompatibility is generally considered one of your #1 dealbreakers, but if she were to agree to try to make things work for the both of us, and I was too, I’m just wondering if we could meet somewhere in the middle. I totally get that it is not ideal, but I’m not sure that life provides you with an ideal relationship.

Thoughts?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by davejay at 12:18 PM on October 21, 2011


Just walk away. You're not friends. You've put her through a lot. She moved on. Give her closure, and stop pestering her. Because of sexual incompatibility, you are going to end up dissatisfied, and are going to dump her again.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


When you say "she were to agree to try to make things work for the both of us, and I was too," what does this LITERALLY MEAN? She will try to want to have sex with you more and you will try to want to have sex with her less? I mean, when you spell it out, it doesn't look feasible for either of your natures.
posted by sestaaak at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree with the above that I'm a little fuzzy about how much work the two of you have put in to Actually Trying to be sexually compatible. Do you think it's mostly the meds that were the problem? Or do you have fundamentally different drives?

If it's the first, it's worth at least discussing with her. If it's the second, set her free for now. Be friends some day, but give both of yourselves space to move on.
posted by ldthomps at 12:27 PM on October 21, 2011


She decided to stick with the guy she was dating [even though they broke up]

I’m really concerned about us driving each of us crazy or losing her as a friend if we try things again.

if she were to agree
[emphasis mine]

I'm sorry, but I think it's over. Sometimes you can love the hell out of someone and still have no way to make it work.
posted by Specklet at 12:27 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


It seems like you've jerked her around a little bit (ok, a lot) and that frankly, you are the guy most women are told to stay away from. Reading this, I have to wonder if you are serious about the eventual marriage thing, or if that's just something you said to win her back.

I think you need to think one more time about how serious you really are about this woman. Are you just feeling older and starting to get paranoid about not being married because your friends are? Or are you really ready to commit to her and stop with the back and forth? If it's the former, I think you should work very hard to be a good friend to her- no physical action at all until you determine that you can be a good friend and until you determine that you are mentally compatible. Also, stop dating this other woman. If you're serious about the other one, why are you dating someone else? Then after 6 months or so, reassess and go from there.
posted by superfille at 12:30 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have read a lot of comments in the Guardian.co.uk's sex column (never look at it except if i happen to see it, readers get a dilemma and comment) from older people to the effect that they've been happily married despite wanting sex but not getting it/not getting enough/not being satisfied. So clearly, if you love someone enough, it is possible to stay with someone for decades despite it. On the plus side, you're both of a generation that will be able to talk about it - it's quite impossible for some older people, the shame is so great that to mention it even in private is just impossible for them. I'm not going to give you any advice, you can only advise yourself on these things and the other person has to decide if they resemble you. In my case, it's about the sense of connection, not some 'standard'. Is she saying anything you're ignoring?(It's hard to catch oneself at this, try recording a conversation about it and listening back.) Is she up for doing something about it in terms of analysis (just discussing it, i'm not saying she has a problem)? Is this what sex therapists are for? They used to have some on telly here telling truly unembarrassable couples how to improve their sex lives, it seemed it could beb quite fun/funny, if you were both able to take it light-heartedly.
posted by maiamaia at 12:32 PM on October 21, 2011


I know that sexual incompatibility is generally considered one of your #1 dealbreakers, but if she were to agree to try to make things work for the both of us, and I was too, I’m just wondering if we could meet somewhere in the middle.

This could just be a fluke of phrasing, but it seems like the primary thought in your mind is that it could work if she tried to be less reticent of sex, maybe even during times when she wasn't feeling it. The part about you also "trying to make things work for the both of us" seems kind of an afterthought.

My advice is this: do not go into this if you feel like she would have to change AT ALL for you to be happy. Do not go into this expecting her to change or do things she doesn't want to do.

The only person you can change is yourself. If YOU want to try to change, if YOU want to try to meet her where she is, then be really really honest with yourself about whether or not that's realistic. If you think so, then give it a shot. If not, leave it.
posted by cairdeas at 12:35 PM on October 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


To me it sounds like this already didn't work out a long time ago. It may or may not be cruel for you to go through the motions of trying again, but I would bet a million bucks that it's pointless.
posted by facetious at 12:41 PM on October 21, 2011


Is it possible to get over some pretty big sexual chemistry if you really frigin love someone?

There are ways of making things work, but they often fall into the non-traditional relationship arenas. How would she feel about you having lovers on the side? How would you feel if the sex always remained the way it is right now. Sexual chemistry is important when it's important. I know this is sort of a tautology but if an active and fulfilling sex life is a thing that is really important to you generally as a person, then yeah you should look for it in a primary relationship especially if it's a monogamous one. For some people it's less of a big deal and in those cases, yeah try to figure out how it works. Iv'e seen posts by people in Askme where the main thing they DID have was sexual chemistry [especially in the kink community vein] and they worked the rest out. But, honestly, you can have a very very good friend in your life who you're not sleeping with and this is a good thing, but having a lover who you're not sleeping with much, if that sort of thing is important to you, sounds like a terrible idea.

She’s been dating someone for the last couple of months. Initially I thought I was ok with that, but at a certain point I lost it, told her I really wanted to work things out with her and hopefully get married.

I'm sure you meant this with every good intention, but this sets of alarm bells for me. You told a person who was in a relationship that you wanted to work things out and marry them, but you weren't even far enough along in the thought process that you ahd thought out the question you're asking us now? That sounds ... problematic and sort of scratching at the surface that you may have issues with your relationship/dating life and your desires that are possibly more complicated than your conscious mind is letting you in on. There are an awfully lot of people in the world and unless you have very nicehe-y and specific requirements, I'd find someone who you could meet better along specific sexual chemistry lines.
posted by jessamyn at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Putting aside a number of not-trivial points people have made, vast numbers of couples successfully sort out differences in sexual compatibility.

Not putting aside those points, for her sake (and for your sake), act and speak with all the thought and care you can muster.
posted by ambient2 at 1:07 PM on October 21, 2011


vast numbers of couples successfully sort out differences in sexual compatibility.

Yes. And "Yes" is the answer I would give to the basic question of, "Is it possible to get over some pretty big sexual chemistry if you really frigin love someone?".

Your specific situation, as you have described it, is not a case where two people in a committed relationship, who love each other, are actively and currently attempting to deal with this particular issue. It seems to me that, in this case, the ship has already sailed:

I lost it, told her I really wanted to work things out with her and hopefully get married. I’ve come around to accepting the idea of having kids and a family. She decided to stick with the guy she was dating…

Superfille wrote:
I think you need to think one more time about how serious you really are about this woman. Are you just feeling older and starting to get paranoid about not being married because your friends are?

..and this is what it's smelling like to me too. I know how hard it must be, but this is a thing of which you need to let go.
posted by Angus Jung at 2:19 PM on October 21, 2011


I am of the view that you need both (love and sex) and if possible that you find that within the same person and if not possible, look at alternative types of relationships.

But I think it's too hard to make it work if there's always an element there that's missing or lacking enough that there's not enough of a balance. It's that lack of balance that leads to resentment and all sorts of hurtful behavior.

I think you're panicking that you won't find anyone else, but you will.
posted by mleigh at 3:02 PM on October 21, 2011


Without going into too much detail about my personal life:

She decided to stick with the guy she was dating…and I can’t really blame her for that, I’ve put her through a lot, and she was very hopeful for this guy.

I wish I had done that when the "you" in my life realized that I'm the one that I want. Not because I was madly in love with the guy I was dating (and we would have broken up anyway) but because "you" were a jerk to me. A jerk who can never make up his mind and who always backtracks. But no, I gave "you" another chance and turns out you were still not happy with me. Please don't do this to the woman. Let her go.
posted by marais at 3:39 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm the one that "you" want.
posted by marais at 3:40 PM on October 21, 2011


You don't know what commitment means yet if you're willing to offer to get married but you think things might not work out. That's a big ol' escape hatch when you would need to be approaching it from "I will do whatever needs to be done to make this work". You don't know if you're willing yet, because you don't have the information, but you still think you can make a commitment.

It seems like you're especially interested in her when you can't have her, and that is common and understandable, but also speaks to a certain unwillingness to buckle down and be there when it's not exciting, fun, unobtainable, idealized...
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:06 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whatever you end up doing, please don't ask her to go off her meds so that you can enjoy a sexual relationship with her more.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:48 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


MeMail me too.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 6:49 PM on October 21, 2011


If it's the anti-depressants that are causing her to have a low sex drive, then perhaps she could consider other ways of managing her depression. I know 23skidoo would disagree, but I seriously don't think that people should treat anti-depressants as life-long maintenance drugs. They could be helpful for people who are seriously depressed or suicidal--to get through a really bad patch and allow them to pursue other methods of dealing with their depression.

Many depressed people benefit significantly from regular exercise. I used to be pretty depressed--not to the point of being unable to function--but pretty depressed all the time anyway, for years. Anyway, the depression pretty much went away after I started working out regularly. This could work for her as well. Another possibility is therapy--cognitive behavioral therapy, for example.

Being addicted to anti-depressants for the rest of one's life and not wanting to have sex because of it is no way to live.
posted by raynax at 1:01 PM on October 22, 2011


I know 23skidoo would disagree, but I seriously don't think that people should treat anti-depressants as life-long maintenance drugs.

Dude. I didn't say that she should stay on the drugs for the rest of her life. I said he shoudn't have her being unmedicated as a condtion of their being in a relationship. It's akin to saying "I'll date you if you lose 50 pounds" or something.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:57 AM on October 23, 2011


The ability to be in a room with someone for 24 hours sans annoyance borders on damning with faint praise and kind of misses the point.
posted by screamingnotlaughing at 3:03 PM on October 23, 2011


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