My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year. He’s a really great guy. Three months in, he started having work-related stress/panic attacks. I suggested he ask his doctor for anxiety help and psych referrals. He finally went, and started taking daily SSRIs. This helps the anxiety, and boosts his productivity. He’s happier. However, our sex life went south almost immediately. I figured this would happen, but of course the anxiety clearly was a priority. I also figured he would maybe not be on the meds forever, or perhaps be able to ask his doctor to try other, less libido-killing meds (I’m in the professional psych field myself and have asked my colleagues about this).
It’s been nine months, and I think we’ve had sex a total of ten times during that period. We had pretty regular sex before the meds. Since the meds/no-sex thing hit, we’ve had about five lengthy discussions about it. At first, he refused to talk to his doctor, to try those other less effecting meds, and categorically refused counseling. I felt bad for complaining — his mental health is important. I felt like I just had to be patient. Then, three months later, I told him that it was important and things needed to change. Two or three major conversations more and about three months after that, we still weren’t having sex. I finally said it was a dealbreaker for me. It’s been a long time. I’m just unhappy. This is not the life I want for myself. However, he is a great guy, I do care about him, and I want to be with him.
I think mostly what is important to me is that our intimacy has waned. It feels like we’re married and bored with each other. He has stated he’s also had this problem in other relationships, without the meds. I ask him if he’s still attracted to me, and he says yes, but this has really affected my self-confidence, my perception of my own body. I miss feeling like someone thinks I’m sexy. I feel untouchable, and not in a good way. I’ve been trying to work-out to feel good about myself, but it doesn’t help on this level.
I essentially gave him an ultimatum last week, because I realized how important this is to me. I understand that biological things take time, so I gave him a month or two. But I think it’s not all biological. I’m also afraid I won’t really stick to my guns and break up with him because he is the kindest, most responsible boyfriend I’ve ever had and I do love him. — Shot-down in Chi-town
Oh, honey, you gotta MOA. This relationship has disaster written all over it. If you’d been married for a while or had children together or were 85 and living in a retirement center where sexually-healthy men were hard to come by, I might give different advice. Hell, if you’d even been dating for a while before this issue started and actually had a solid foundation built below you and a history of happiness, I might tell you to stick it out a little longer, but you were only with this guy three months before things started going south. Worse yet, your boyfriend has admitted that he’s had this problem with other girlfriends — even before the meds. This is a problem that existed long before you and is something your boyfriend seems totally unwilling and unmotivated to work through.
As great as you may be, I highly doubt the threat of losing you is going to make a difference. Your boyfriend has lost girlfriends before you — and chances are they were great, too. What makes you think that after nine months, countless conversations, and failed relationships before you — likely for the same reason — your boyfriend is suddenly going to change now. He’s not. It’s going to continue being the same, and if you stay with him, you’re going to be a miserable, sexually-frustrated woman who not only hates her partner, but hates herself, too. You’ll hate yourself for not being stronger. You’ll hate yourself for investing so much of your youth — assuming you’re still young… — in an unfulfilling, dead-end relationship. You’ll hate yourself for your complacency — for settling for “nice” when there was potential for so much more elsewhere. You’ll hate yourself for depriving yourself of physical pleasure and emotional intimacy, and for letting your self-confidence nose dive into a black abyss simply because you didn’t have the guts to walk away from something you knew in your heart you should have walked away from ages ago.
Don’t screw yourself over. Don’t be a dope. This boyfriend you think is so kind and responsible has continued to let you down for months and months. He has continued to ignore you and take advantage of you. If he were really kind and truly responsible, he would have broken up with you a long time ago because he knows he can’t be the partner you deserve. Since he doesn’t have the balls to end this relationship — since he doesn’t love you enough to set you free — LOVE YOURSELF and MOA. You will hate yourself if you don’t.