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.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.
Jess November 18, 2011, 7:16 am
Yea, you gotta move on. This will NOT get better. The tell is that he told you he was like this before in other relationships even before the meds.
If you need some convincing, check out the ivillage forum for mismatched libidos. It’s pretty heartbreaking, and the theme you will see pretty quickly is it doesn’t matter how much therapy you go to, or compromising you try to do, it’s not going to get better. Best MOA so you can both find better matches.
rainbow November 18, 2011, 7:17 am
“I’m just unhappy. This is not the life I want for myself.”
You answered your own question there. MOA taking time to get over this but in the general direction of people who will fuck you silly.
cporoski November 18, 2011, 7:49 am
totally agree. She knew her answer before writing her letter. She just feels bad about it.
MissDre November 18, 2011, 10:01 am
Yep, this exactly.
PFG-SCR November 18, 2011, 7:36 am
You’ve likely only had sex the ten times during that period because you made a point about how important it was to you. Otherwise, it probably would have been much less, if at all. You don’t want to have to constantly be making this an issue in order to have some intimacy with your partner. And, it doesn’t sound like it’s just physical intimacy that you’re lacking – it’s the emotional intimacy, as well.
Just because he’s a great guy doesn’t mean that this is something that you should accept – you’re clearly not content with it, nor should you be. Without the sexual and emotional aspects of a relationship, you’re just platonic, and that’s not enough. You’re not happy now, and given how resistant he is to make changes and the issues he’s had in past relationships, this isn’t something that is going to improve enough that you’ll be happy with it.
Three quarters of the time you’ve spent in your relationship have been unsatisfying to you, so I agree with the others – MOA. MOA before you’ve invested more time, and before your self-esteem is even more damaged.
caitie_didn't November 18, 2011, 7:42 am
yes, yes it is.
sweetleaf November 18, 2011, 7:49 am
Dang. Y’all are some cold hearted people. I think you’re all wrong.
caitie_didn't November 18, 2011, 7:53 am
why? she’s not getting her needs met, he’s not interested in helping her meet those needs. If he was, he’d be getting her off in other ways. Bottom line is that their sex drives are badly matched and that is a recipe for relationship disaster.
Jess November 18, 2011, 10:20 am
why is it “warm-hearted” to stay in a relationship where you’re not sexually compatible? The LW is unhappy, and I’m sure her boyfriend is unhappy being pressured to have more sex than he wants. There are people with high libidos and people with low libidos, and its best when those people find their own type. There are women in the world who would be fine with sex once every month or so, and the boyfriend should be free to find one.
amber November 18, 2011, 10:35 am
i think it’s like wendy said, if they had been together for longer it would be different. he showed more interest in trying, it might be different. but, they only had three months of a normal relationship and now he’s uninterested in trying to make things better. and it’s not like she hasn’t tried to talk to him about this. i just don’t see either one of them being happy long term in this relationship.
Carolynasaurus November 18, 2011, 7:51 am
This is why this letter makes me angry. You blatantly state that this guy dismissed your complaint in different ways for over nine months. He made virtually no effort to compromise.
But, BUT, by the end of the letter, you call him the “kindest, most responsible boyfriend I’ve ever had”. Either you have dated some really crappy dudes in the past or you are mistaken.
I’m going to probably perpetuate some stereotypes here, but do you think I want to have sex with my husband every time he wants to? No, but sometimes I do it because he needs it. And if he can’t biologically do something, he can still do things to you. And, some people will definitely disagree with this one, but to have a successful relationship, I think you need to be able to lie to the other person when necessary. He can’t even pretend that he finds you sexy every once and a while for the sake of your ego? This guy is just crappy and you need to MOA.
Will.i.am November 18, 2011, 8:22 am
Wouldn’t you say everyone who has been in a relationship and ended it feels this way? You can be with the sweetest person, who treats you better than anyone has before, but there’s an issue within the relationship that you couldn’t live with forever.
I got out of a relationship a couple months back, because the girl I was seeing was on some medication that made her emotions go up and down. This was medication she had to take for the rest of her life. These were bad peaks and valleys. Not like what happens to some women when they are on their “cycle emotions.” She was so sweet and always thought of me first; however, I couldn’t live with the emotional roller coaster everyday for the rest of my life.
I would say most of us date that comment here are potentially dating to get married. We are constantly looking at what we can and can’t live with long-term. The LW has the right to feel the way that she does. If you only want to get married once, you are really looking at the complete picture. The LW is being very upfront with what she wants, and she’s been in the relationship for a year and nothing has changed. She feels unloved, she has voiced what she wants, he is not willing to compromise, relationship is a dead duck for her.
bethany November 18, 2011, 8:33 am
I agree with you 100%- I don’t think you need to lie to the other person necessarily, but I say that sometimes you should do things you don’t really want to do because they make your partner happy. Maybe it’s wearing jeans instead of sweatpants, or going to see a Twilight movie or a concert you’re not really into, or putting out when you don’t feel like it. People who genuinely care about eachother shoudl like to do things that make the other person happy from time to time!
rainbow November 18, 2011, 9:43 am
Right. And you don’t even need to put out. You can stroke their hair while they touch themselves, or read them erotica or whatever.
Meaghan November 18, 2011, 10:13 am
LOL if I was feeling randy and his idea of helping me along was petting my hair I’d be so turned off and weirded out I don’t think I’d be able to finish. And, maybe we’re immature about this, but if he read to me some of my dirty romance novels I’d burst out laughing.
rainbow November 18, 2011, 11:04 am
everybody’s got their specific kinks. just replace this with whatever lifts your luggage =)
mcminnem November 18, 2011, 12:15 pm
+1 internets for “lifts your luggage”. Yay Dan Savage!
Meaghan November 18, 2011, 10:11 am
I agree completely when it comes to having sex; sometimes you do it for your partner’s satisfaction not just your own. There have been times where I haven’t been in the mood, but I’ve gone along. And you know what? In the end it was great :]
Relationships, especially marriage, are an ebb and flow system. Someone chases while the other pulls, and vice versa.
Lying, white lies at least, are an integral part of a marriage. I’m sorry, I know a lot of people believe in that whole ‘openness’ about everything, but I’ve learned that saying how sexy you find him when he looks absolutely disgusting due to a sickness or bad day of training can really turn a crappy day into a decent one.In those cases you both know the other isn’t looking sexy, but it makes you feel better anyway. So I agree with you totally that there are times when it’s necessary to make things a lot smoother.
rainbow November 18, 2011, 11:19 am
“There have been times where I haven’t been in the mood, but I’ve gone along. And you know what? In the end it was great :]”
DebMoore November 18, 2011, 2:01 pm
Yup I agree. Sometimes I would just rather go to sleep, but do it anyways and I have never been disappointed in the results!
I also agree that while you do need to be honest with your partner, you also need to be kind!
DebMoore November 18, 2011, 2:09 pm
Oh also LW should move on. Something like that will only get worse and make you feel worse. Just because sometimes I am not in the mood, sure does not mean all the time! I do not think sex is the most important thing in a realtionship, but it’s up there. I have lots of freinds but only one that I sleep with!
And really the most important thing is LW is unhappy and they are not on the same page. That is not going to work for the long haul!
AKchic November 18, 2011, 12:48 pm
The crux of your last paragraph is this: You are married. The LW is not. I agree with you though. If he was willing to work with her on this, he would at the very least meet her halfway. He would do something to help her with her sexual frustration. Foreplay. Something. Instead, he brushes her off as if it is not his concern because it is HER libido, therefore HER problem, not his. That’s not helpful, and pretty damned selfish if they are in a relationship. A relationship is about give and take and compromise. Not all one person taking what the other gives.
Sure, there are some nights where one person isn’t as “in the mood” as the other, but you still do it because its a compromise, its a partnership, and you know that the favor will be returned eventually when the roles are reversed. Unless there is a damned good reason (i.e.: monthly cycle, illness, broken bone, too drunk/medicated, etc). Nobody wants to have sex when there is the possibility of getting puked on.
Anon November 18, 2011, 8:02 am
As someone whose struggled with some pretty severe panic attacks myself…have you considered going the non medication route? It seems as though he got himself on meds pretty quickly – but a couple of years ago I started Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which to any non-psyche ppl out there – it involved basically confronting anything and everything that could trigger an attack and realizing that it wouldn’t hurt me.
Idk, it might be nice to wean him off of the meds anyways,
GatorGirl November 18, 2011, 9:36 am
I totally agree with you. I had fairly sever panic attacks my sophmore year of college and my doctor jumped to put me on medication. I spent a year on the meds and felt so flat I decided to stop taking them. I’ve since figure out (on my own but I would recommend the LW’s BF see a doc) how to identify my triggers, how to manage them, and what to do when I am in the midst of an attack. My BF has also been very understanding and has learned what to do in those situations. It definitely hasn’t been easy, and I still struggle with the anxiety sometimes, but it is way better then living my life medicated!
However my birth controll is killing my libido now but that’s another letter to DW.
savannah November 18, 2011, 10:45 am
I know it was an afterthought and off topic, but i’m super curious about birth control affecting libido. Mostly because it has the exact opposite effect on me…I think because I’m not worrying about sex=baby. But I also haven’t had any negative side effects from any of the pills I’ve taken (just shorter nicer periods and bigger boobs) which I know is not the case for a lot of women.
GatorGirl November 18, 2011, 11:00 am
I don’t know much about it, other than it’s listed as a side effect on the website. I’m on Yaz which is supposed to have the least amount of side effects which other than my lagging libido I don’t have any side effects. Well my boobs are huge but that’s hardly negative. I’d like to stop taking it but we’re not interested in kids or other BC methods (I really want and IUD but we’d like to try for kids in 3ish years). So we just push through the libido issues.
Anon November 18, 2011, 12:08 pm
You can have an IUD removed whenver you want to become pregnant. See this link:
Marie November 18, 2011, 11:38 am
The nice thing about IUD is that you can take it out whenever (well at the doctors…) and fertility returns. That said it is painful to put in and rather erratic (I also developed an ovarian cyst soon after implantation, not life threatening but not very much fun). Something to think about!
GatorGirl November 18, 2011, 2:13 pm
Doctors I’ve talked to are reluctant since I’ve never had children and I want to so “soon”. So pills it is for now.
rainbow November 18, 2011, 3:13 pm
I’m getting one soon (IUD, not child!), and apart from one religious wacko who told me I shouldn’t be having sex in the first place because I wasn’t married, the other two doctors I talked to said the “at least one kid” rule is a lie. It might hurt a bit more to have it inserted, but it doesn’t make a difference.
6napkinburger November 18, 2011, 8:26 pm
Me too! I made my appointment (It’s kind of annoying. I had to go to my annual at my gyno and then make a separate appointment at a different facility. And you have to call up mirena and tell them your insurance information which they send to the doctor. The whole thing was weird.) But in 3 weeks, I won’t have to worry anymore!
rainbow November 18, 2011, 11:12 am
I hated it. I didn’t want sex, ever. I had headaches every morning. I threw up every time I picked up an ashtray to empty it. I gained 8 pounds.
But I don’t know if it affected my libido directly or I felt so weak, sick and fat that I didn’t want sex because of that.
rainbow November 18, 2011, 11:17 am
also this: (in men)
lets_be_honest November 18, 2011, 12:14 pm
Whoa, whoa, what pill gives you bigger boobs? And how long have I been missing out?
mcminnem November 18, 2011, 12:21 pm
only sometimes 😛 Mine aren’t any different. Mostly I just enjoy knowing exactly when I need to buy tampons (almost to the hour!) and the awesomeness that is being babyproof.
I am a lot more sensitive (emotionally) than I used to be, but it’s nothing too out of control.
Painted_lady November 18, 2011, 5:08 pm
Totally jealous. I *used* to be able to predict when I would start down to the hour UNTIL I started birth control, and then it became anyone’s guess. As in, I was nearly 3 weeks late last time, and one month I started a week early and then spotted for like two weeks. God, I hate birth control.
silver_dragon_girl November 18, 2011, 2:34 pm
Seriously! I would switch, like, today.
theattack November 18, 2011, 4:42 pm
NuvaRing has made my boobs bigger. Went from a B cup to a C cup! Not a huge difference, but believe me, I am proud of that extra cup size! It also generally just made me a lot hotter. My figure seems more womanly all together. And there’s no pill to swallow and very little to remember. Requires very minimal levels of responsibility. Seriously, Nuvaring is amazing
katie November 18, 2011, 7:16 pm
i was going to try that one, but it is 90 a month for me. i was so shocked!
AKchic November 18, 2011, 1:54 pm
The meds aren’t necessarily meant to be a long-term solution for most people. Depending on WHY he has the panic attacks, he should be doing some sort of therapy in conjunction with his medications.
PTSD, deep-seated traumas, psychosis, those are reasons to stay on an anti-anxiety medication for long-term treatment. Again, those should still be in conjunction with therapy.
Many people end up addicted to their anti-anxiety medications because the primary care doctor prescribes them and then the patient doesn’t follow through with the follow-up steps (therapy) and continues to go to the primary care doctor for the refills. I’m not saying this is the case. I’m just saying that a primary care doctor isn’t well-suited to treat depression or anxiety. Merely do a short-term diagnosis and referral for specialized care.
I am not a clinician. I do work in the behavioral health field (rehab and its myriad co-occuring disorders), and have 20 years experience with my own PTSD, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and experience with my SO’s PTSD, depression and anxiety issues, plus many friends with their own issues over the years. This isn’t exactly new to me.
Fabelle November 18, 2011, 8:15 am
If he’s had this problem in other relationships, then maybe he’s glad to have the excuse of libido-killing meds this time. There’s definitely other medication options, so why would he “categorically refuse” to talk to his doctor? The ones he’s on might be helping him mentally, but he shouldn’t be okay with them smothering his libido. Unless he never had much of one in the first place.
Agree with everyone else– move on & let him find some girl who’ll be happy to have sex 10 times a year.
bethany November 18, 2011, 8:30 am
This Exactly: “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”
MOA- He’s not fulfilling your needs and has made it clear that he doesn’t plan on it.
savannah November 18, 2011, 8:33 am
Agree with Wendy 100% and would like to add that intimacy and libido *can* be two separate things. If the LW’s boyfriend was truly the “kindest, most responsible” partner she would not be feeling untouched or untouchable. There are many other ways to connect to someone at an intimate level other than just the sexy times.
AndreaMarie November 18, 2011, 9:40 am
So so true. Even if it were all about the meds making him unable to get aroused or what not….he could still be enagaged in some form of physical intimacy with you. He could do other things to please you sexually. There are many ways to be physically intimate. Kissing, touching, whatever. If he was truly such a kind and amazing boyfriend he would WANT to find ways to be intimate with you. He woudl not only want to make you feel good but he would want to feel close to you.
MOA. You know you should and deep in your heart you want to. You are just questioning how other people might judge your descision. Like ‘Hey LW, I can’t believe you’re dumping because you want more sex. He is like the best boyfriend ever.” It won’t be the case.
You deserve so so so much more than this. There are plenty of wonder, nice, kind men out there who will also meet your sexual and intimate needs. The fact that your self esteem is being impacked so strongly means this relationship is no longer healthy. THAT is the biggest reason to MOA. Honestly, it’s no really about you MOA-ing because of lack of sex anymore, the issue is really about the negative impact the relationship is having on your feeling of self worth. He’s not respecting your feelings nearly enough. You’ve gone out of your way to talk about it and he has made zero effort to change anything to make you feel better. THIS is why should MOA and not feel bad about ti at all.
GingerLaine November 18, 2011, 6:42 pm
Agree. And even being intimate without sex. He could be holding her hand. Blowing her kisses. Giving her a little rub on the butt or a boob grab as he passes by. All of those things are just little intimacies that can happen multiple times throughout the day & just reinforce that you’re loved, attractive to your mate, and being thought of. He’s just not trying and/or he doesn’t want to give her hope that he’s going to have sex with her. Which is almost sadder. And that makes me feel especially badly for the LW. Because she’s trying so, so hard. And sooner or later, you realize that you’re fighting, but what are you fighting for? And should it really be this hard?
It’s a sad situation yes, but LW, do you think you could spend the rest of your life this way? If not, what’s the point?
Flake November 18, 2011, 8:47 am
Ok.. I have a couple of things I would like to say.
For the record, I agree with everyone else who said that you should move on for all the reasons mentioned above. This relationship is unfair to both of you. You deserve someone who listens to you and appreciates you and makes a conscious effort to make you happy. He deserves someone like that too. If it makes it easier for you to move on, you can look at this as a favour to him. With all the issues he has got going on (stress at work, anxiety, low or absent sex-drive) he needs time to take care of himself first. Yes. he is being selfish by stringing you along for all this time, but you’re staying with him for selfish reasons as well.
So, move on, and give both of you a chance to find someone who is truly compatible with you and makes you happy in every way.
P. S. I am married for (almost) 5 years. And one thing I have never been in this time is bored.. 🙂
ReginaRey November 18, 2011, 8:49 am
It makes me a bit sad that the LW said she didn’t want to break up with her boyfriend because he was the “kindest, most responsible boyfriend” she’d ever had. I mean…that doesn’t set the bar too high, ya know? There are plenty of kind, responsible men out there. In fact, come a certain age, pretty much ALL men you date should full under the category of “kind” and “responsible.” It leads me to believe that the LW might be with this guy more because he’s the best that’s come along so far…not because he’s the best PERIOD.
LW – Move on. You’ve given him plenty of time, and he’s made it known that he’s not really all that interested in changing things. This relationship is pretty one-sided. You’ve put in the effort to be understanding, you’ve given him a lot of time to sort through his problems, you’ve been patient with him…and he doesn’t seem to want to reciprocate. Mental health issues or not, you can’t be in a relationship that’s this one-sided. Whether the reason is because he has deeper issues to deal with, or because he’s simply “not into” you enough to put in the effort…you need to move on. This isn’t an equal partnership.
GingerLaine November 18, 2011, 6:47 pm
HAHAHA! I was going to write “There are plenty of other kind, responsible people who’ll commit to you AND have sex with you on the regular.” But I decided against it.
I tend to be kind of matter of fact & I’m trying to do better about sounding like a huge bitch in forums/comments (since the interwebz lacks tone) when I feel like I’m just being plain. I wasn’t sure if that crossed the line, so I nixed it. You said it so much better than what I was going to. 🙂
Skyblossom November 18, 2011, 9:15 am
The fact that you’re unhappy and not living the life you want is always a good reason to move on.
I’m sad to hear you equate your current relationship with marriage. Marriage is only boring if you allow it and if you aren’t picky about who you marry. I think it’s important to marry someone you have fun with day in and day out and who you love and respect. Last night my husband and I watched Merlin and Downton Abbey over Netflix and it was fun because we snuggled together, relaxed together, drank wine together and commented to each other about the shows.
Life is what you make of it so if yours isn’t making you happy then it’s up to you to make the changes you need to be happy.
katie November 18, 2011, 7:19 pm
im not married- but sitting with my boyfriend watching tv and making tons of stupid comments about the shows and commercials is seriously a good time. add in some wine, thats perfection.
rainbow November 18, 2011, 9:31 am
Ok, he already refused to do his part to get better so you have sex with eachother, and also to at least do things to you to keep you satisfied (a massage + oral now and then never killed anybody performing them).
Now what about an open relationship? In case you don’t want to move on just yet, you can talk to him and explain that since he dislikes sex with you so much you’re going to stop pushing for it and get your needs met elsewhere.
If he refuses this solution too, then this dude is selfish as hell. You’re let people know from the very beginning that you want a sexless relationship. You don’t trick them into having one.
Also this screams porn addict to me. I used to date one, we lived together, and i had to practically beg him to try and be more sexual with me (then he would try, but it sucked, because he didn’t want it). All the time he would pin everything on “stress” or “depression”, but it was a huge lie.
He would lock himself up in the bathroom with his laptop, first thing every morning, to jerk off. I asked to be a part of it sometime (not in a whiny “i want to see who you find sexier than meeeh” way but in a perverted teenage neighbor way), show him my favorite porn, watch his with him, masturbate together. But he was so ashamed of it he wouldn’t share it with anybody.
It was heartbreaking. I’ve never felt so ugly and uninteresting. You know what, screw the open relationship advice. Just MOA.
rainbow November 18, 2011, 9:33 am
*you* let, sorry
EB November 18, 2011, 11:23 am
“Also this screams porn addict to me”
I am sorry but I feel like you are MAJORLY projecting.
This guy is taking daily SSRIs and according to the Mayo Clinic:
“Most antidepressants cause sexual side effects that can last throughout treatment. They can include decreased sex drive and difficulty reaching orgasm. Some antidepressants may cause trouble getting or keeping an erection (erectile dysfunction). For many people, these are the most bothersome side effects of antidepressant therapy — and the most common reason people stop taking their medication. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are more likely to cause sexual side effects than are other antidepressants”
So when it comes to guessing the reason behind his diminished sex drive…
my money would be on the anti-depressants NOT porn addiction
rainbow November 18, 2011, 11:36 am
He said he had this problem in previous relationships, when he wasn’t taking them. So anti-depressants are just an excuse this time.
rainbow November 18, 2011, 11:42 am
He could also be asexual. Or he could have been terribly abused, maybe. But it doesn’t make it better. He just won’t try to fix it. I vote calling “Next!”.
Lemon November 18, 2011, 9:38 am
Can I be the voice of dissent? Two years ago I could have written this letter. Heck, I live in the same town. But I didn’t MOA, and I’m glad I didn’t.
Same story –I prioritized his mental health; it wasn’t just the lack of sex, but the lack of intimacy that was a problem. He didn’t even pull me in for random hugs anymore. He admitted that the SSRI didn’t allow him to feel as attracted to me –or anyone– as he had before, but he thought the benefits outweighed that.
THEN, like LW’s bf, he started to say that he had never thought sex was important in any relationship, and that most people are too interested in sex. But that didn’t jive with what I knew about him from before the meds. It was weird.
I was unhappy and thought about leaving, ALL THE TIME. I’m not trying to give the letter writer false hope. If things hadn’t changed, I would have left. I emphasized for months that I wasn’t happy, but I guess I wasn’t forceful enough. Finally I gave an ultimatum –work on this, or we’re just friends– and then he started to work on it. The work took a year, and was just as awful and frustrating (switching SSRIs, going back to the original, trying to live without one) before he found a doctor and a health plan that worked for him and for *us*. Now we’re both happier.
So, if she’s willing to put in another year of frustrating work –if he is worth that– then maybe don’t just MOA. Try an ultimatum and be ready to leave if he doesn’t respond.
TheOtherMe November 18, 2011, 9:49 am
This is a tough one. On one hand you at least made it clear that you intend to move on if this situation doesn’t change, on the other, the pressure of an ultimatum just might kill the last little speck of desire he can muster. I do believe that when both parties in a couple put in equal effort, they can basically get though almost anything but in your case it seems that you are doing most of the work/compromise.
I think M.O.A. dear LW, sorry.
Meaghan November 18, 2011, 9:56 am
The question isn’t is no sex enough reason to move on, but rather is your unhappiness a good enough reason. The answer is a resounding yes! You’ve put in a lot of effort to save this relationship, and now you see that the results are the same despite your attempts to change them.
Release yourself from this relationship and find someone who can give you a relationship that you are happy in.
Meaghan November 18, 2011, 10:03 am
BTW I’d like to add that just because he isn’t a raging dirtbag, doesn’t mean that he is kind. The fact that he disregards your needs in the relationship without any effort to better it himself isn’t “kind”. It’s apathetic at best, and is not a great quality in a lifelong mate. You as a n individual in the psych field should be able to see that clearly, and know that it doesn’t pertain to you as a person.
By apathetic I mean that he knows there is a problem that has interfered and/or destroyed relationships he’s had in the past, but he makes no attempt to correct it because he obviously doesn’t see a problem with it or the pain/frustration it causes his partner.
Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich November 18, 2011, 10:08 am
amber November 18, 2011, 10:44 am
it kind of makes me sad that you equate marriage with being bored. granted things are never as exciting as the first few months you’re with someone, but i don’t think my husband and i are bored of each other. while i think the amount of sex you have with someone can vary over time, the fact that you mention that your intimacy has gone down is worse. even when we’re not having as much sex we’re still intimate. we hug, give each other back rubs, make a point to always kiss each other good-bye, etc. how does your bf react when you try to initiate those kinds of intimate things? at the end of the day though i think like wendy said, do you have a good enough base to stay? did those three months of normalcy provide enough to get you through this kind of issue? i don’t think it’s wrong if the answer is no. you’re just being honest.
AKchic November 18, 2011, 11:53 am
Because he is going to be on the medications for the forseeable future, you do need to move on. As long as he is on the same medications, his libido is going to stay low. Period. It’s not going to change. Asking him to go on something else to satisfy your sexual needs is only going to add to his stress, which will actually backfire in the long run.
He has found a medication that works psychologically. It may not work in the mojo area, but as long as his mental health is good, that’s all that really matters right now. For him.
For you, it’s another story. You aren’t happy in the relationship, and it’s not likely to change. Move on, and realize that you two weren’t completely compatible. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, it just happens.
oldie November 18, 2011, 11:54 am
I think LW is staying in relationship out of false guilt. She is a mental health professional and appears to see this guy as much as a patient than as her bf. She encouraged him to go for treatment, he got drugs, the drugs helped his panic attacks and stress, but had the well known frequent side effect. She feels as a professional she should live with the side effect, even though it is destroying her life, because the drugs have helped him. She also knows he is being stubborn and not trying other drugs that may have the same benefit without the side effect. She probably realizes that he doesn’t want to tell his doc that he is basically impotent, seeing that as embarrassing. She somewhat sympathizes and doesn’t really put her foot down. Big mistake. Whether it is do to his stubborness, his illness, or whatever, this guy just isn’t working for LW as a bf. Sympathy only takes you so far in a relationship. MOA. Now, not after some two month deadline, that you will temporize about when it is reached. The issue is hot in your brain now. Just MOA. It would be different if you said 2 months, because he and his doc will be using that time to explore other drugs. But it isn’t. It is just 2 more months for bf to decide whether you are worth having a chat with his doc. If he felt that you were and were serious about this being a dealbreaker for you, don’t you think he would have had that chat 6 months ago? That he hasn’t tells you all you need to know.
Budj November 18, 2011, 3:04 pm
Been there, done that. MOA. Unless you like depriving yourself.
Michelle November 18, 2011, 7:31 pm
I think there should be a new feature entitled “He’s a Really Great Guy, But…”. It seems that’s how so many of these start out then goes into five paragraphs about how he’s actually an ass. Not in this one in particular, but definitely the vast majority.
katie November 18, 2011, 7:48 pm
LW, i think that at any point in a relationship, if you are unhappy, you have the right to leave. it doesnt really matter what is making you unhappy, you need to make a positive change for yourself.
sometimes, you gotta be selfish. sometimes, like in your situation, being selfish is not a bad thing.
Allison November 19, 2011, 5:27 am
I agree that she should move on because she’s not happy and they aren’t sexually compatible. But I think it’s a little extreme to go on about what a bad guy he is. Maybe he is, and maybe he isn’t. That’s not really the point of the letter. He probably should be making more of an effort to address her needs, but maybe it’s hard for him or he doesn’t know how. People can be stubborn, confused, self-absorbed, etc., and still be basically good people. His recent anxiety may be work-related, but I feel like people don’t normally acquire such crippling mental health issues without some sort of underlying tendency toward that. So, maybe the other times that his sex life has gone downhill have been because his mind has been in a bad place. That’s neither here nor there, but I guess I just didn’t see this as such a black-and-white case of him being a bad guy.
atraditionalist November 19, 2011, 9:46 am
YES-it’s enough reason
Ruby November 19, 2011, 2:39 pm
My answer was “Yes” to the headline, even before reading the article.
After the reading the article….”Yes, yes, yes….MOA!”
Goldendelight November 20, 2011, 7:56 pm
People are not machines. The guy is having serious issues and if you truly think you love him, you’ll regret throwing away a good man. At least try sex therapy/counselling first to get to the root of the problem. Don’t listen to all these selfish idiots.
For those saying 3 months is nothing: there are plenty of people that marry after this short amount of time and remain that for life.
Michelle.Lea November 21, 2011, 5:34 pm
I do understand this post Golden, but the main issue I know I see above, is his resistance to attend counseling together. If he’s not willing to work on the relationship as well (she has to work too of course) then she should MOA. One person cannot hold a relationship together themselves.
Woman of Words November 21, 2011, 11:08 am
I’ve just left a 20 year marriage for precisely this reason. 20+ years of trying to prove I was good enough, and justifying all the crappy behaviour that left me with zero self-confidence. Just listen to Wendy, she’s right. Being by yourself is better than putting up with this. You deserve better.
Michelle.Lea November 21, 2011, 5:32 pm
I lost my first marriage through something like this. However, after you’ve left and look back, I’m guessing that you will see the signs of the sex waning before he went on meds. I know I did. It’s very hard to leave when someone is having mental problems, but I know for me, the dealbreaker was him not wanting to get help for *us * as well as himself. I went through several rounds of asking him to go into counseling with me, only to be told no. Eventually I just realized that anything outside of his bubble was just not important to him, and this was a problem through the whole relationship. I truly believe that for the most part, lack of sex in a relationship is a symptom of a bigger problem. It took me going to a counselor myself, and a huge ‘aha’ moment for me to go, but I have found myself again. Now I look back and wonder why I stayed so long, because it would have been easier on both of us had I made the connection before we got married.
Miss V February 2, 2012, 6:09 pm
Definitely MOA. This sounds similiar to a past relationship-3 months into it & the sex stopped. He always complained about not feeling well, which was partially true, but there were additional red flags: as soon as we were serious, he totally stopped making any effort to keep me. My self esteem plummeted, I actually ended up on meds. They didn’t do much because the fact of the matter was we were completely incompatible. So I ditched the meds, then ditched him & the next guy I dated helped me to get my mojo back, despite the fact he was not relationship material by any means).
MOA, what’s the point of being with someone if they don’t fulfill your needs? I say…. NEXT!