Who is crying for help? My heart or my depression?
August 19, 2017 12:01 AM   Subscribe

Relationship question #9783: I've been feeling trapped and unfulfilled with my relationship lately but I can't tell if its actually because of my relationship or my depression that has gotten worse and is telling me to withdraw completely. Sex problems and a wall inside.

I (M 29) am currently in a relationship with an AMAZING girlfriend (29). We are going on our 5th year. We live together, have pets together, we talk about getting married, hint at how I'm going to propose, talk about where to buy a house, if we are going to have a girl or boy, what we are going to do with our parents when they get older, etc. She is the sweetest, most compassionate, most emotionally in-tuned person I have ever met, and that is why I love her. She will make such a caring, nurturing, mother and wife. She has been sososo supportive of me with my history of depression and self harm (details to follow), my immaturity, she was there for me when I was diagnosed with blood cancer (remission), and has taught me so much about how to be a good partner and boyfriend. I truly love her.

I have been depressed for the past 15 years. The past couple years I feel like I have been much better, only having a couple of sad months a year. I am currently unmedicated, and haven't truly been diagnosed since I was a teen, but currently in the process of finding a psychologist and psychiatrist because I have no idea what my triggers are and lately I've been feeling unhappy and frustrated but I can't tell if its my depression blowing it out of proportion or truly feeling unfulfilled with my relationship.

Lately I have been pursuing therapy a little more vigorously because I can't get over the feeling that I should break up with my girlfriend. She is so wonderful; any man would be lucky to have her. The only big problem that we have is our mismatched libidos and how it has affected me. Mine is pretty high (I would like it everyday) and lately (the past year and a half? 2 years?) she can forever without it. If I don't initiate, which I haven't for a couple months, we would go weeks without any sexual contact. It hasn't always been like this. In the beginning our sex was great. Relationships fizzle, right?(She reminds me of this) I know that in the beginning people fuck like rabbits and its great. But I also know that I like sex, and in order for me to feel loved I need physical touch and intimacy. I also know that I have my older years to not have sex and I feel like we should be taking advantage of the bodies we have now etc. She never initiates anymore, it feels like a chore, and whenever we do finally have sex (after what feels like me begging) it's always vanilla and me doing everything. Almost immediately after my orgasm I feel guilt. I feel like a pervert and a rapist. I hate feeling like I am making her "endure" sex with me. It makes me feel like I am disgusting, it makes me feel like I am way out of line wanting sex, and it makes me feel like our relationship is going nowhere and it makes me feel unloved and unwanted. It's gotten to the point where I make it a habit to try and masturbate everyday after work before she gets home to get it out of my system so I will not be rejected at night. I feel like my attraction is causing problems in the relationship. When I bring it up to her she just says that she doesn't know why she doesn't want to have sex anymore, that she doesn't feel lust or get turned on(with anyone), and that she will try to be more intimate. And she does try. She will ask occasionally, "do you want to have sex?" but it feels fake. My flawed head already knows that she is just saying it to make me feel better. I don't want my sex life to be so superficial. It's like I can't trust sex with her at all anymore.. I feel hopeless. Like our sex can never be repaired because I will always know that she doesn't want it.

Lately I feel like my brain has suddenly shifted into completely not even thinking of her in a sexual way. Like I have programmed it to not crave sex with her because of all the guilt and frustration and disappointment that it has caused. This whole problem seems ridiculous and I feel ashamed that its even causing a problem because in the back of my head I know that its just sex and I shouldn't have it outweigh ALL of her fantastic qualities.. We've been together for 5 years already. How could I stop now just because of this? She has said that maybe we could do therapy together but 1) Should we really need that when we are so young and not married? 2) I feel like it could be a complete waste of time because my brain is already made up and my view on it cannot be fixed and 3) I am scared to introduce her to myself if I get triggered during a session and she sees me become a tangled mess of issues.

None of you can tell me if I truly want to end my relationship. But if any of you have advice or words of wisdom that would be great. I feel like I've read enough Human Relations questions to know what most answers would be but I wanted to type this all up anyway because I don't know what to do. I already have basically set an expectation for the past 5 years that she isn't wasting her time with me and that we will be together forever, but I don't want to string her along even more if this all turns out to NOT be my depression and that I truly feel this way and we get married and/or have kids and still have it be a problem down the road. I love her and she is great for me in every other way but I feel lost.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Mismatched libidos can be worked on in couples therapy. It's quite possible that your feelings of disgustingness and other self-recriminatory emotions are entirely invented by your brain, but the best way to find out is by having candid conversations about sexual intimacy with your partner.

Anecdotal, but I once had libido mismatch issues with a partner and felt like an ugly pig, but it turned out that my partner had undiagnosed diabetes that affected his ability to feel sexual desire. If this relationship is great otherwise, it seems worth trying to work on this issue head-on before giving up. To me, the deal breaker would be her ultimate unwillingness to try couples therapy, not the lack of sex, per se.
posted by xyzzy at 12:16 AM on August 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

Do you think it would help things if there was a lot more physical contact and intimacy of the kind that didn't have to lead to sex? Might that make you both feel some better with less pressure?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:54 AM on August 19, 2017 [10 favorites]

If you're stringing her along by acting like you two could have a future with a normal relationship, so is she. Does she honestly expect you to go without sexual contact for months on end? And these future children, are they going to be conceived in a test tube? Have you considered that it's not your depression causing you to want to end your relationship but being constantly sexually rejected that's causing your depression? If that was my future spread in front of me, decades of being spurned, I'd be depressed too. And I was, because I've been there. (I was the woman).

Even if she does come around (under duress, because it doesn't sound like she's going to magically decide she's sexually ravenous for you, it will be because she sees her future being snatched away,) it's likely you won't trust or believe it and it won't last. By all means, address it in therapy because at the very least it may help both of you come to terms with chasm between your mismatched libidos.

I'm here to tell you it's ok to want more. It doesn't make you a bad person - or her a bad person - it just means you are not compatible in a fundamental way and no amount of her being a good kind person is going to make up for decades of being spurned. If anything, the way you view her now will eventually be buried in seething resentment because your needs aren't being met.

There is someone out there who desires you the same way and it is unfair to both of you to continue this relationship which shortchanges you and let's her think that this is enough for you. It just won't end well, whether it's now or in twenty years time. It just comes down to how long you're prepared to pretend and be unhappy until you do something about it. I'm sorry. But it does get better once you leave. It was the best thing I ever did and now I'm very happy with someone else. I just regret I didn't do it sooner. I wish the same for you.
posted by Jubey at 1:22 AM on August 19, 2017 [8 favorites]

For a lot of people sex and sexual desire only happen when there is demonstrated love and partnership. So, does she feel loved? When you had sex a lot at the beginning of the relationship was that when you were "courting" her and devoting a lot of time and effort into showing your love? (I'm assuming you know her love language and validate using hers). You have date nights where you cover all logistics? Are you a partner to her in fully doing 50% of the adulting in the relationship of is she devoting time and energy to chores, reminders or even worse, "mothering" you? Women do not feel sexual attraction to boys they have to mother.

The sexiest man alive is one who works all day, comes home to do their share of tidying, cooking, cleaning up and makes sure the sheets on the bed are clean. That is a lot sexier than an exhausted woman being greeted at bedtime with expectations of sexy times from an energetic boyfriend (energetic because he has basically been waited on hand and foot all evening).

Maybe she has a medical issue, but more likely is that your relationship is unbalanced (like most). If you are aware you have a medical issue you really should focus on getting your own health stabilised as I am sure it is affecting her. Good luck!
posted by saucysault at 1:22 AM on August 19, 2017 [48 favorites]

But I also know that I like sex, and in order for me to feel loved I need physical touch and intimacy

Her view may be: "I like sex and in order for me to be intimate and have sex I need to feel loved"
posted by saucysault at 1:26 AM on August 19, 2017 [20 favorites]

What you do next depends on the root causes! I think an open, honest conversation with your girlfriend (and yes, a kink friendly counselor!) is the first step.

1 – mismatched libidos
2 – she's not attracted to you anymore
3 – she's into you, but not your sexual style (her needs aren't getting met)
4 – she has a medical problem that is messing with her libido
5 – she is emotionally blocked from wanting or enjoying sex, which may or may not be related to you. could be stress, old trauma, shame, body insecurity, boredom, feeling unhappy or unsupported in a different part of your relationship...

It sounds like you're both keeping your true feelings from each other. Have you told her, point blank, that physical touch and intimacy are your love languages? Do you practice more than just PIV sex... everything from cuddling and holding hands to head scritches, massage, deep kissing, stroking, foreplay, kinky games, toys, roleplay, oral pleasure, reading erotic stories together...? Do you know and practice her love languages too? You're afraid if she sees "the real you" in therapy she won't love or respect you. Who, then, has she been seeing this whole time?!!

When I bring it up to her she just says that she doesn't know why she doesn't want to have sex anymore, that she doesn't feel lust or get turned on(with anyone), and that she will try to be more intimate.

On her side, I think she really needs to interrogate her feelings about her disinterest. I think deep down she does know why, even if she can't articulate it yet or is afraid to tell you the hard truth. Maybe she ducks the question because she doesn't want to hurt or disappoint you. If the answer is, "You don't please me sexually" or "I feel unloved" or "I already do more emotional and relationship labor than you so I'm too exhausted," well, that's a hard thing to say. But those things can be fixed! You two can change the way you have sex, you can change how you run your relationship.

If you want to get to the bottom of this, set aside your egos -- you both need to feel safe enough to be real with each other. You can work through disappointment, but not through what's unsaid!

Go get a copy of Come As You Are and read through it right now. It has stellar, research-backed insight into sexual arousal patterns, libido mismatches and communication around intimacy. The author Emily Nagoski has a great blog too.

If the problem turns out to be that her needs aren't getting met in bed, start with OMGYes. I also have a ton of books, memail me.
posted by fritillary at 1:49 AM on August 19, 2017 [13 favorites]

Is she actually enjoying the sex herself?

With a past partner I ended up feeling as your partner does, not bothered. But he initiated it when he wanted it but with no mind of what was going on for me (like he is horny at 5am before work and I've been asleep for only 2 hours but he's waking me then annoyed that I reject him, ditto when I'm about to leave or just got home or am very upset about something unrelated). In addition he made no effort to make sure I was enjoying it or getting am orgasm, but expected me to do all the stuff he liked so he would have one. And yep that felt perfunctory! Like initially it felt like him wanting me to scratch an itch he couldn't reach, later that I was a big extension of his own hand for him to masturbate with. I felt like I, me the person, wasn't there in the intimacy. There was physical intimacy but I felt it was being directed at me or inflicted on me, not shared together.

It's a common and logical result of women faking their orgasms which many do, at least many my age. But I wasn't!

My libido isn't particularly matched with my husband's but it is more a question of style too. I would have a quickie every other day, he is fine with once a month or less but likes candles and chandelier swinging. Life is compromise and I'm not at a place to complain about my extremely satisfying if infrequent sex.

If she isn't bothered about sex I would start by asking if the sex on offer is actually satisfying fun sex for her at all.
posted by intergalacticvelvet at 3:02 AM on August 19, 2017 [29 favorites]

Treat the depression asap. The most likely explanation is that you have both depression and a libido mismatch, and they're feeding off each other. However you decide to proceed with the relationship, you will be much better equipped to process it with good mental health care.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:50 AM on August 19, 2017 [7 favorites]

This is not a her problem, it is a you problem. You are viewing sex as a thing that someone is supposed to do with you. A healthy view of sex, in my opinion, is that it is something that flows from a deep connection between people. Sex is not an "it" but a "her". Masturbating and sex have nothing in common except that they both involve orgasms. So is it a human-induced orgasm you want, or is it her? Follow that guilt you feel, it is telling you something very important. Have you ever had sex that was non-penetrative? Focused on her orgasm and her pleasure instead of yours? Also, if you watch porn, stop.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:10 AM on August 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

So this isn't an Instant Dump Them ASAP question. It sounds like there is genuine value in this relationship that is worth saving.

But that takes hard work, dedication, commitment and facing your deepest fears. Sometimes you can't do that in a long term relationship... So if yours ends, as long as you keep moving forward and working on yourself, things will be ok.

1) Should we really need therapy when we are so young and not married?' uh, yeah dude. You fix small problems before they become big ones (I am not saying this problem is small... You are clearly considering breaking up). You go to the mechanics when the check engine light is on before your car blows up. You patch a leak in the boat before you drown. You fix your relationship before you build up all the hopes and dreams and reality of a marriage.

In fact, marrying her with both of you in this state is outright cruel, both to her and yourself.

2) I feel like it could be a complete waste of time because my brain is already made up and my view on it cannot be fixed" I mean this in the nicest possible way, but I really want you to hear this... This way of thinking is bullshit and utterly going to drag you down. It sounds strongly like something depression would say.

"We tried nothing and nothing worked!" your brain already made the switch once, why can't it again? How could a professional not help?

3) I am scared to introduce her to myself if I get triggered during a session and she sees me become a tangled mess of issues.

Ahhhhhhhhhh here we go. This, to me, sounds like the real root of the problem. I get this kind of dread. Showing her who you really are, good, bad, ugly, and broken is terrifying. And super hard. But intimacy, vulnerability, and ultimately, honesty are important.

Would you want to marry someone hiding deep dark secrets for years or decades? Reality is, you have and are a tangled mass of issues. Most people are to some extent. But you don't clear that thornbush by hiding from it. You wade in there with an axe and get dirty, bloody, cry, hurt, and exposed..... It is the hardest thing that you will ever do in your life.

Is she worth it? Is the relationship worth it? Are YOU worth it? Do you love her enough to do that terribly hard work? Do youlove YOU enough to make your self a better person?

I know depression says "I am not a good person. I don't have value" but that can be countered with a combo of meds and especially therapy.

You internalize and subject yourself to a llloooooottttt of guilt and stress and shame over normal human desire."guilt. I feel like a pervert and a rapist. I hate"

That's heavy. That needs to be worked on. So yes, therapy. Basically...

1, you both do nothing and the relationship ends or limps along miserably and with toxic secrets for way too long.

2, you both do individual therapy and things get somewhat better

3, you both do individual therapy and couple's counselling and for some reason things dont work so you break up and move on, having learned some lessons and more about yourself...

4, you both do individual therapy and couple's counselling and do the hard, vulnerable work of showing your true selves to each other and the relationship gets on a much better track... Her needs are being met, you don't feel like a self hating rapist, and yall have a good, healthy relationship.

But I 100000% believe that if you can't face and show the worst sides of yourself to people you love, including yourself, you will never be happy.
posted by Jacen at 7:15 AM on August 19, 2017 [13 favorites]

I am currently unmedicated, and haven't truly been diagnosed since I was a teen, but currently in the process of finding a psychologist and psychiatrist because I have no idea what my triggers are and lately I've been feeling unhappy and frustrated but I can't tell if its my depression blowing it out of proportion or truly feeling unfulfilled with my relationship.

You have untreated depression. There is pretty much no way of determining what's "depression" vs. what's "a chronic relationship problem that would be there even if the depression weren't" until you get the depression treated. Getting the depression treated will almost certainly involve shifting the relationship dynamics. She may also want to look into therapy -- being a partner to someone with untreated depression for five years takes a toll -- and she may also need to shift the relationship dynamics in ways that better support her. I personally think it would be premature to end the relationship before you both put at least some of this work in.
posted by lazuli at 7:26 AM on August 19, 2017 [10 favorites]

Maybe it's just personal experience speaking, but never have I read a question about two seemingly kind and reasonable people that so strongly screams DTMFA. I've been on your girlfriend's side of the equation, in love with a partner I had no interest in sex with, too invested in the sunk cost fallacy (that having spent so much time together, we shouldn't waste what we'd built) to see that we'd outgrown one another in more ways than just sexually. It was half because he had whiny, entitled behaviors about sex that made it difficult for me to respect (or desire) him sexually. But it was also because we'd grown apart and sex--that most fundamental of intimacies--was the most obvious signal. There were plenty of other signals (depression and a sense of desperation was one), but it was much harder to see those signals clearly, since after four or five years any relationship has its ups and downs.

It's easy, especially with a partner you've been together for so long--and in the scheme of your life as a sexual being, five years is a long time. But imagine spending the rest of your life going without...not just sex, but the wholistic intimacy that's so essentially part of sexual interactions with a partner in a long-term relationship. I could--I convinced myself we'd be happier together, and if we'd been oh I don't know, settlers on the windswept Nebraska prairies in the 1890s, both of us waking before sunup to milk the cows, it might've been a good idea. He was a sweet, kind partner and there's a lot that I still admire about him. But seven years later, I'm so relieved that we broke up. I have a partner I'm sexually compatible with now, and as far as I can tell so does he. We're still friends though we don't live in the same city anymore, and we're much happier and more self-actualized. To some degree we grew up together and saw each other through the coming of age that happens in one's twenties, and it's probably only because neither of us are "the marrying type" that we didn't make plans about the children we'd have together or the white picket fence that awaited us. I am almost certain--as in, 99% sure--that if you break up, in a couple years you'll meet someone you can find a sense of certainty about--and also good, hot sex and the feeling of being able to truly trust and understand one another.

If you choose to stay together, couples therapy seems absolutely essential. If you're not willing to try working on your relationship, you should just assume that the broken parts will stay broken, and the rest will suffer from the unresolved elephant in the room.
posted by tapir-whorf at 7:42 AM on August 19, 2017 [7 favorites]

Not to be flippant, but rather, wry. (Apologies in advance to those who hate this song.) What you describe sounds a bit like the "pina colada" song, (Rupert Holmes) "write to me and escape..." As in: you love each other but you're both... bored, same old same old, looking for excitement in ways you aren't finding with each other, yet at some level hoping to rekindle that excitement with one another. This song comes to mind because I read your question as one in which you both really care for one another, just need to find a way to reconnect sexually in a way that works for both of you.

So, like the song... how well do you know each other? Does she like pina coladas and the like? Do you or do you hate them and does she know?

Rekindling and learning new things about each other's tastes and preferences may help you over this time... or it may not be enough. But it sounds like it's worth the effort. Because she sounds bored too, frankly.
posted by Crystal Fox at 7:54 AM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a strange question with strange answers. She has lost her attraction to you and has suggested couples therapy, but you don't want to go. That is usually how you'd describe a relationship where the fear is that she may leave you.

I think that because you are depressed and used to being depressed and used to looking for and at your own problems, you are not considering the possibility that she is depressed. If she is not depressed, she may be unhappy. If I am completely wrong, you still should take her up on her suggestion to go to therapy together. She has a mental/physical health system that is fully as complex as yours, and she needs your support to improve it as much as you need hers. She's asking. Say yes.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:00 AM on August 19, 2017 [25 favorites]

I find it interesting that the person with the most power in the relationship also does not want to go to couples therapy with you + tries to convince you long-term partners don't have sex. Right?

She may have the wrong idea from cultural or family influences, or maybe it's a side-effect of hormonal contraceptives if she is on those, maybe she has a naturally low libido, which is ok, AND YOU DESERVE A PARTNER WHO DESIRES YOU.

This is a deal breaker. TALK TO HER. If she isn't willing to do relationship work with you to regain the intimacy in your relationship, yep, it's a smart wise appropriate thing for you to break up. This is not a happy relationship right now. I hope she works with you.
posted by jbenben at 8:50 AM on August 19, 2017

She has said that maybe we could do therapy together

The OP is the one who thinks couples therapy is a bad idea. His partner wants to go.
posted by lazuli at 8:52 AM on August 19, 2017 [12 favorites]

Was she your care taker during your illness? Is it possible that she got into that role, and it's hard to get out of that mindset now?

Couples therapy would help with that, I think.

I also agree with other posters that perhaps you need to do a bit more to serve her and her needs.

Five years is a long time, and I'd say it's worth really trying to make this work before giving up altogether. Best of luck.
posted by too bad you're not me at 8:56 AM on August 19, 2017

whenever we do finally have sex (after what feels like me begging)

yeah, you said you'd stopped asking completely but when you start again, don't do this. There are two things that can happen between heterosexual couples which will make the woman resent the man to the point where I sincerely believe some women unconsciously but forcibly break their own libidos in order to not break their love for their partners.

1. Only ever asking for sex. Some men do this -- they only ask for sex; they never offer it.
2. Treating every request for sex from their partner as an offer to provide it.

this is a big deal and it if it is not immediately obvious what I mean, take it up in therapy. I am alive to the concept of catastrophizing language and I understand that you may not talk to your girlfriend about sex the same way you write about it here -- you probably don't. But if you think about it that way, it can't be hidden.

You are focused on the way begging for sex makes you feel like a supplicant before and a creep or quasi-rapist after, which is fair because it's awful. But the mirror image of these roles is awful too: being begged makes you feel like a mean mommy or, given your history together, like an inadequate or incompetent caretaker. These are ways of relating that are as humiliating to her as to you. you've probably heard this stuff before just in general terms, they're all kind of cliches. but they are things a lot of women would only feel comfortable bringing up in therapy, if at all, if ever.

so be sure that your resistance to therapy together is really about not wanting her to see parts of you, and not about fear of finding out what she's really thinking. She doesn't know all your secrets but she's cared for you when you were very sick; she knows a lot. You, on the other hand, talk about her in frankly idealizing terms -- exquisitely emotionally attuned, and all that. splitting her into a spiritual perfection and a sexual failure. Berating yourself for having negative feelings about such a wonderful woman strikes me as a way to avoid worrying about whether she has any negative feelings about you. perhaps feelings she keeps to herself because she worries about exacerbating your depression, or because she thinks you need her to be your rock or something. But it's like the sex thing all over again -- she wants to go to therapy, and you talk like it's about her offering to participate in your therapy. It would be for both of you.

usually when people write very long and very complex questions with many sub-parts, they are writing around one very simple question that they don't want to ask because the answer might be bad. Your official question is: is her sexual performance bad enough for me to leave, or am I just depressed? And in this case, the missing question is: is it possible the cumulative effects of my chronic depression and her past role as my caretaker have made me sexually unattractive to her, or made her unable to view me, or any man, as a sexual object anymore?

and the answer is Yes, it is not certain but it is possible. but though this would be very painful to discover, it can be worked on and perhaps repaired. Managing your depression and giving her own mental health equal weight in the relationship might make her feel free to look at you and not after you.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:08 AM on August 19, 2017 [29 favorites]

she doesn't know why she doesn't want to have sex anymore, that she doesn't feel lust or get turned on(with anyone),

This stood out to me. Not having any libido any more, and no attraction to anyone, is a major sign of depression. You say you're making plans to go to therapy, but is she? I think the couples therapy is a good idea, but individual therapy for her, might also help. That's not just mismatched libido, that's no libido, and that's not right.

The thing is, love is a choice. When people say that, they mean that you don't run at the first hurdle; that you weather and work on problems together. And this is a problem that is super common to most couples; chances are you will probably see it again, even if you were to break up and find someone else. She's obviously trying to work on it, (even if her methods aren't working great for you) and she obviously loves you, and that's a good sign. I think you should take her up on her offer of couples therapy. Why push back against this suggestion? This is bizarre to me. It feels that while you get it that intellectually couples don't usually go at it like rabbits indefinitely, it's like you magically want her to go back as she once was when you first met, that you want her to desire you the same way, act the same way, etc--but you don't want her to do any of the work it might take to get there. Look, her lack of libido is a problem that won't magically fix itself. It doesn't mean it cannot be fixed, or a solution can't be found. I feel you're almost being petulant about it, which is why you're resisting -- She wants to fix this, but the mere fact she changed at all upsets you and you've already resigned yourself to 'this is unfixable,' and that's on you. She is trying, and she wants to work on things. Do you?

It seems to me from your question, that you seem super resentful at the idea of compromise, which is why you've given up. I think you should try working on this relationship, but also on yourself. Problems don't fix themselves or go away on their own 90% of the time. A healthy couple isn't one that has no problems, but one that can solve problems together. All couples therapy does is identify and give you the means to fix problems like this, for your mutual happiness. Don't look at it as if your relationship is failing because you need it-- honestly, probably most couples 'need' it and don't get it, and either endure or break up. This doesn't make their relationships better than yours; quite the opposite.

Also, work on not internalizing her rejections so much, because it's not necessarily about you-- again, therapy will help with this.
posted by Dimes at 10:51 AM on August 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Your libido and hers will switch sides within the next five years. Women go into overdrive some time between 30 and 34, right around the time your libido stops thinking that every concavity looks arousing. That will be when she starts nudging you and pointing at fire hydrants, with a raised eyebrow and an "amirite?" wink.
posted by janey47 at 11:16 AM on August 19, 2017

Also, I would strongly suggest that it's not her libido that's broken, it's her libido with you. Complicating matters, if you're both monogamy-oriented, it may feel unfaithful for her to fantasize about other people or lust after strangers on the train--which is to say that, realistically speaking, she may not have much of a metric for measuring her attraction to others, only her current desire for you. FYI.
posted by tapir-whorf at 2:54 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

What have you done/learned/tried lately to make her *want* to have sex with you more often? Because a lot of guys i know just think the same-old will work forever.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 10:52 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ok, I hate to be so forceful because obviously there are lots of reasons women lose their libido. But I'm pretty sure it's this.

She has said that maybe we could do therapy together but 1) Should we really need that when we are so young and not married?

You state you have been in personal therapy more often lately to consider the possibility of breaking up over sex.

But you think being in therapy together to discuss it is spurious?


Yikes! Holy fuck, yikes. Are you interested in solving the issue or just figuring out if she's good enough for you? And, how are you blind to how refusing couples therapy while doing individual therapy about your sex issues reads?

2) I feel like it could be a complete waste of time because my brain is already made up and my view on it cannot be fixed

I am sure she knows how strongly your views on sex are fixed, and how little you value her input.

Basically, OP, I just want to ask you what you are thinking. You're like, "listen, she should be hot for it regularly, and the fact that she isn't means that she's dumpable. I mean it's not like we are married, figuring out what would make her orgasm in bed should not be my responsibility."

Even a minor version of this in a relationship will lead to someone holding on tight, and supporting you in every other version of what you need, but yet keeping their legs tightly clamped.

Are you sure that you actually care whether she gets off? Women can tell.

Sorry for being vulgar, just trying to be very clear about the cause and effect here. This is such a horrible thing, to write on the internet that you want your girlfriend to have more sex with you but don't think you should have to listen to what she wants and accommodate it.
posted by benadryl at 5:13 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

What fritillary said - Come As You Are.

Get 2 copies - read them at the same time and talk about it chapter by chapter together or get the audible version and listen together.

This is a very common issue and frankly I think that book should be required reading for everyone.

If you want a preview - Ted Talk.
posted by jopreacher at 1:27 PM on August 23, 2017

In her shoes? I would want you to set up couples counseling and tell the counselor you want to break up with her and want to schedule several sessions to do it kindly, and to make sure she is respected, and gets all the support she needs, and to help you both work out a fair distribution of your household items and funds to fully compensate her for her many years of unpaid caregiving work for you.
posted by edithkeeler at 12:28 PM on August 24, 2017

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