My boyfriend of one year asked me to marry him. I surprised myself by saying I needed time to think about it. The problem is sex. He is nearly 60 and had prostate cancer before we met. He is not a turn-on in the sex department. Everything else is so good, that I have tried not to think about this issue. But when faced with little or no sexual pleasure for the rest of my life, I know that is not what I want. I am in my 40s, divorced and never met someone that I click with so well except sexually. Am I crazy to think of breaking up when everything else is so perfect?
Of course not! Crazy is living a life of regret. Slowing down the decision-making process about a major commitment is admirable. Whether you ultimately settle more deeply into the relationship or keep seeking, the final choice must align your needs and values.
Someone once said that if a couple is having sex, then sex is 10 percent of their relationship. But if a couple is not having sex, sex is 90 percent of their relationship. Translation: An unsatisfactory sex life becomes a fixation. For many couples, it’s the proverbial elephant in the room. Denial about the desire for a playful, passionate, mutually pleasurable sex life can permanently erode emotional intimacy. When one or both members of a couple refuses to talk about the problem directly, that pattern of dishonest communication flows into other areas of their life together.
So, what are your options? If you stay, regret about that choice could lead to resentment. That’s deadly to the friendship you cherish with your man. If you leave, you will likely mourn the loss of your closest friend. Of course, you might meet a man who can offer all that you desire. But you will eventually discover that all committed relationships require some compromise. The bottom line is this: Love always includes risk. If you remain and marry, approach sex as an adventure. Forget what you think you know about what excites you sexually. Explore new territory with your husband. Talk to medical professionals, read and uncover new techniques and then practice, practice, practice.
My wife was married before and has three children from that relationship, plus we have one child together. Her ex-husband pays child support for two of the school-age children, and they share custody. Their eldest son is 23 years old. He is on our auto insurance and cellphone plan. We pay his health insurance and help him out when he overspends to the extent that the month lasts longer than his paycheck. He works full time, but my wife flips out every time I talk about cutting him off financially. I am sick of paying for him. How do I get her to understand this?
Unpack her guilt. At some point, she decided that her eldest suffered too much as a child. If her first marriage was volatile, she may blame herself for how it affected him. But by treating him like a dependent, she unconsciously stunts his growth. He contributes to the drama by running out of money and letting her bail him out. Of course, you participate, too. Don’t allow your wife’s tantrums to intimidate you. She overreacts to avoid facing her motivations. I suggest that you tell her you need to speak to her and ask when she is available. At the appointed time, acknowledge her intention to be a good mother. Explain that coddling her son negatively affects his financial acumen. Tell her that you would like to redirect funds from him and into a retirement dream you share. Help your wife to see a new future. Eventually, the past will become less important.
“Come live in my heart and pay no rent,” wrote the artist and songwriter Samuel Lover. What do you charge the people you say you love?