Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “Menopause Is Affecting My Girlfriend’s Libido”

I love my girlfriend, “Jane,” and we have a great relationship, but after 18 months, the lust is gone and I crave that new and exciting feeling that being with another person would offer. Jane has hit menopause at 46 and has less interest in sex than I do. There’re no temper tantrums, mood swings, or anything of that nature; it’s mainly a decreased interest in sex. She told me her sex drive was much higher at 40. The times we’ve had sex have been good, but it just doesn’t happen often enough. I’m 51, but my libido is good. Whenever I mention it’s frustrating, she says: “Well, if you’re not happy, find yourself a younger woman.” (She’s joking, of course.)

Other things unrelated to the menopause: I waited four months to have sex with her although we did fool around during this period. She didn’t want to have sex during the Easter and Christmas periods because of her Christian values. She refuses a certain sexual position because it’s impersonal. She thinks if we got married or lived together, she would have a higher sex drive and we’d have sex more often. Would getting married actually change anything? Is she saying, “Commit to me and you’ll get all the sex you want”?

She’s devoted to me and would make a good wife, but I’m just feeling dissatisfied in the bedroom. Perhaps I could find someone else and have a more active sex life, but this someone else may not be as devoted. Life is about trade-offs. Is it a valid reason to end a relationship if you’re not satisfied with the sex but everything else is good?— Dissatisfied in the Bedroom

Feeling dissatisfied about something in a relationship that is important to you is always a valid reason to leave. I suspect what you’re really asking though is what the likelihood is you’ll find someone who is a better fit for you sexually while still being compatible in the other ways Jane is, and I can’t answer that for you. I think if you felt confident you could find someone else, you’d probably already be looking. I think if Jane was worried you could find a “younger woman,” she wouldn’t actually joke about you doing just that. You probably both are well aware that your options for young, pre-menopausal women are more limited at 51 than when you were 31. That said, I’m not so sure age is as big a factor in a woman’s libido as you seem to think it is. It’s very possible YOU just aren’t really doing it for Jane. And it’s also possible that, indeed, menopause is affecting her desire. If it’s the latter, the good news for her is menopause eventually ends. If it’s the former, I guess that’s bad news for you.

As to Jane trying to convince you that her sex drive will magically reappear if you two move in together or get married and your wondering if that means that you’ll get all the sex you want if you commit to her: Lol, no.

My ex-girlfriend just told me few days ago that before we broke up, she was pregnant and she had a miscarriage. It’s been almost three months since that happened, and when I asked her why she didn’t tell me, she said she didn’t know how to but the fact that we broke up without her telling me was eating her up. Her family did the cleansing for her and named the baby (I named the baby too). Right now she’s going through a difficult time and I know that she wants my support in each and every way, but I don’t know what to do, how to help her with the pain, and how to support her. Even worse, I don’t know if I should tell my parents about the loss or not. I am so devastated I don’t know what to do or how to feel. I want to be there for her through and through, BUT it seems like I am failing. — Failing at Supporting

I’m sorry you’re hurting, and while I respect your desire to support your ex-girlfriend, it’s not your obligation to do so. You’re her ex presumably for a reason. She has family and friends, right? This is the time for her to lean on them, and if you feel you need the support from your network of loved ones too, you can share the news and do the same (though you also have no obligation to share the news if you don’t want to!). Loss and grief are hard for everyone, and part of the process is simply absorbing difficult news, which can be especially challenging if it’s a shock or if it’s compounded by consecutive loss (like the ending of a relationship). I would suggest giving yourself a few more days of space from your ex-girlfriend to simply process the news she’s shared and then decide whether or not you have the emotional bandwidth to lend her any support while also maintaining the boundaries your breakup demands. As her ex, you have zero moral obligation to step up as a support person through whatever challenges she’s going through right now. If you decide to anyway, know that doing so may jeopardize whatever progress you’ve made in moving on from your relationship with her.

***************Follow along on Facebook,  and Instagram. If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

9 comments… add one
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    Fyodor November 10, 2020, 11:30 am

    For LW1, my general sense is that if someone is over 25 and wants to wait a long time to have sex., they are either not that interested in sex or not that interested in you. Like all warning signs I am sure that there are exceptions but I think it’s a strong signal that something is up.

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      Helen November 10, 2020, 12:19 pm

      I was coming here to say the same thing! She can’t have sex during the Advent & Lenten seasons, total of 11 weeks. She clearly doesn’t like sex

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    Buttery November 10, 2020, 12:46 pm

    So she only flexes her “Christian” values at a particular time of year? Hmmm lol

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    Pheebers November 10, 2020, 12:55 pm

    There is ZERO chance the bedroom will get less dead if they get married, and she’s being terribly unfair to imply it. It may be that everything else he loves about her more makes up for a tepid sex life, which will, guaranteed, diminish over time. But he has to know that going in, or he will be miserable.

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    Ele4phant November 10, 2020, 1:17 pm

    She may be in menopause but sounds like she has other hang ups about sex.

    She may be a nice lady but I don’t think you are sexually compatible (unless you start to lose your libido), so if sex is an important part of a relationship for you, you should think hard about moving on.

    It may be harder, sure, at your age to find a perfect match, but your 51. You hopefully have decades of vital living ahead of you. If this is important don’t settle. Stay good friends but get back on the dating market. If good companionship is more important, than accept its coming with a lackluster sex life.

    I would suggest an open relationship, but my gut says that’s probably not something she’ll go for.

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  • avatar

    brise November 10, 2020, 3:55 pm

    LW1: Menopause is an excuse here. Do find a woman your age who likes sex. They are many! This one just doesn’t. Plus she is a liar.
    LW2: Sensitive answer by Wendy. LW, you can’t help here. She left you. She didn’t inform you. She has her own support system. Find your own and do speak to your parents, seek their support. This is a lot to unload.
    It will take her a while to recover, and there is nothing you can do about it. She will have to go through it, perhaps with the help of a therapist. Tell her that it hurts you too, you can’t help her, this wouldn’t be a healthy situation for a ex-couple, but you wish her well. Talk to a therapist if you feel that the double bereavement is too heavy to carry.

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    Redgirl November 11, 2020, 4:03 pm

    I think it may be misleading to LW #1 to say “menopause ends.” Many of the symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes and mood swings, do go away over time. But once a woman has gone through menopause, her body will produce less estrogen for the rest of her life. It doesn’t ever come back. And there are permanent changes associated with that. For some women, a lower libido can be one of them.

    That being said, I don’t think menopause is really the problem here. From other things you’ve said (not having sex during Christmas/Lent and waiting a long time to have it to begin with), it sounds like your girlfriend doesn’t have a very high sex drive to begin with or has some religious beliefs about sex that are not compatible with yours (or both). Marriage isn’t going to magically change that. So if sex is important to you in a relationship, you may have to find a different one.

    But bear in mind that “younger” is not synonymous with “hornier.” Plenty of young women have low sex drives. And as a post-menopausal woman enjoying a thriving sex life, I can assure you that “older” is not synonymous with “sexless.” In fact, for plenty of women, the freedom of never having to deal with birth control, never worrying about an unwanted pregnancy, and never dealing with periods or PMS again can be a libido booster!

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    Bittergaymark November 12, 2020, 12:16 pm

    LW1) Eh, I think if you randomly ran across some of your gf’s exes they’d all tell you her libido was equally lousy at 26. Some people don’t like sex. And then they’re always so fucking smug about it. “You don’t like it, go find a younger woman!” Seriously? Ugh. Tell her to piss off. MOA.

    LW2). What she is doing sounds so manipulative. Did the miscarriage even happen? I mean — sure, I suppose so. But really? Who knows. Tell her to find a great therapist and move on.

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  • avatar

    Ankat November 13, 2020, 9:32 am

    LW1 – your GF might like sex, but really not like having sex outside of marriage. Some people are like that due to the values they grew up with. Have an honest chat with her, not one she jokingly tells you to go find a younger woman.

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