Fast forward to now, September, and he is no longer sick but he still will not kiss me. He admitted that he’s afraid of getting sick again and that’s why he avoids it. I can’t ask him to kiss me because it just makes him not want to even more. I’ve tried to explain that if neither of us is sick, then he won’t get sick, but my words have no effect.
I miss kissing him, and I’m tired of still doing sexual things without kissing. I want the foreplay, but there’s none. He won’t even kiss my hand or cheek. He says that I need to give him more time, so I’m trying to be okay with not being okay, but it’s difficult for me. I hope you can give me some words of advice. — Not Sick of Kissing
Well, first of all, it’s never a good idea in a relationship – or in a job or in life in general – to try to “be okay with not being okay.” That’s the opposite of what you should do. You need to honor your feelings, take active steps to change or improve the thing you aren’t okay with, or get out of the situation if it can’t be changed. In the rare case that none of that is possible, then you work on ways to find peace with the situation. (This is different than trying to be okay with not being okay; it’s essentially working toward being okay, period.)
In your situation, where your very reasonable needs aren’t being met in a relationship, your first step should be to get let your partner know that you have these unmet needs. You’ve tried this already – you’ve asked your boyfriend to kiss you and he keeps refusing. (And for what it’s worth: you say that kissing has never been a problem in your relationship, but that isn’t true. It’s been a problem since the end of June – nearly three months of the eight you’ve been together. I’d say that’s a signifiant problem.) You need to let him know how unhappy you are, how rejected you feel, and how he is failing to meet your needs in a way you simply don’t understand. The excuse he’s using to avoid kissing you is bizarre and signals something amiss. Either he’s got some kind of psychological thing against kissing (or, kissing you, specifically) that he masked earlier in your relationship (or possibly developed as your relationship progressed) or there’s something about your kissing that doesn’t appeal to him and he’s using the fear of sickness as an excuse to not address that for fear of hurting you. What he may not realize is that the rejection you’re feeling is hurting you more than if he’d just be honest with you.
I would sit down and ask him if there’s something about you or the way you kiss that is unappealing to him. This will be an uncomfortable conversation, but it needs to be had. Does he have a problem with your oral hygiene, does he not like the way you kiss, does he not like kissing in general? Tell him that you aren’t buying the fear of getting sick excuse, but if that’s truly what he feels, you’d like him to talk to a therapist about it because it’s not a normal reaction and it’s hindering your relationship.
If he refuses to address the issue, then it should be obvious to you that your needs are not important to him and you should see it as a sign for how he will prioritize you and your needs going forward. Since this issue started happening about five months into your relationship – the general point in a relationship when people start getting a little more comfortable with each other and showing their more authentic, less polished selves – it wouldn’t be crazy to think that maybe all that chemistry you say you felt early on was an act to reel you in. At any rate, it’s important for you to remember that there are other fish in the sea — some of whom actually like to kiss.
Yes, ask if you can attend the wake, and ask what he needs from you in the way of support. But I wouldn’t use his answer to gauge his commitment to you. If you are ready to leave him and if there’s a history of rejection – beyond his not letting you meet his son whom he’s apparently estranged from — then, yeah, maybe it’s time to break up. But a breakup shouldn’t be contingent on whether or not you’re allowed to attend a wake. It should be contingent on how you’re treated in general, whether or not you share common goals for the future, whether you’re on the same page emotionally, and if both your needs and his are being met. I think you already know the answer to all that, and whether or not you are invited to attend a wake for someone you’ve never met shouldn’t change what you know and feel in your heart.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.