Updates: “Put Out” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Put Out” who was disappointed that her live-in boyfriend seemed to never want to have sex with her. She wrote:

“I have always initiated the sex in our relationship. I always get turned down a few times in favor of “more sleep please” or a nap or “I’m too tired” before I find that he will say yes. I have asked him to initiate more with me but he always says that, when he wants to ask, I beat him to it. It’s getting to the point where I don’t even ask anymore because I know the answer will be no.”

Keeping reading to see if he’s still turning her down.

At the time I wrote my letter to you, I was working a very stressful job, which messed with my perception of time. Days felt 100 hours long and weeks felt like they were months long. In the time after, I was able to reflect back and see that yes, we were having sex once a week, but the heightened stress made the time between seem much longer than it actually was.

I usually deal with stress by having sex. Previous to this relationship I was single, and I used to just go out and hook up with someone for instant-gratification sex. Now I had to take my partner’s schedule into account and figure out a time that worked for both of us. With him working long hours, that made for times together to be few and far between.

Not long after this letter, I got burned out at my job and had to quit. (I am on disability for a traumatic brain injury I received in 2004 and my working part-time was just supposed to supplement my income from that, but my sanity is not worth a little extra money.) My boyfriend has recently reduced his work schedule a tiny bit. He was working five days a week at his part-time job but has cut back to four.

It seems most everybody recommended that I leave him, but I felt very close to him and he hasn’t always been employed this much. Like I said, he works this much because he wants to and sees the value of hard work.

We are still having sex once a week but, since I am not stressed, my libido is not as high. It’s enough for us, and we value our quality time together. So I guess, in reality, I solved my own problem.

Glad you found a compromise that works for both of you and that you’re feeling less stressed these days.


If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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  1. I am glad you’re feeling better about your relationship, but I am confused as to how working 5 days a week at a part time job made him too busy/tired/stressed for sex. I guess I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of us work full-time/5 day a week jobs and still find plenty of time to get frisky with our significant others.

    1. Maybe they are in school at the same time as working? Not sure.

    2. SweetPeaG says:

      I took that to mean the part-time job was a SECOND job for her boyfriend.

      Maybe because I can’t imagine a part-time, four day a week gig making a person too busy/tired to get frisky.

      1. You are exactly right. He has a part-time job in addition to his full-time job.

    3. I went back to the original letter, and it says that he was (is?) working 2 jobs. So maybe he cut back on one of his two jobs and is still working a lot of hours?

      1. You must be right b/c that makes way more sense. Duh!

    4. i was kind of confused by that wording and was wondering if she meant it was a part time on top of his full time job?

    5. Some particular full time (or even part time) jobs can just be really exhausting, even if the hours aren’t overwhelming. My fiancé is a high school teacher; late meetings or dealing with students’ personal problems often leaves him mentally drained. And when I just got out of high school I had a really physically demanding part time job – even with working just 20 hours a week on it, it was EXHAUSTING.

  2. I’m not sure whether I was one of the people who told her to leave him, but the update provides a lot of information that probably would have influenced my response to the original letter. It sounds like working less was a good move for the LW if she was so stressed out.

  3. Avatar photo theattack says:

    hahahahahaha, I LOVE that Wendy named this LW “Put Out.” Excuse me while I giggle uncontrollably like a 14 year old.

  4. ele4phant says:

    I am the opposite, lots of stress makes my interest in sex nose dive.

    Enjoying sex takes a bit of concentration to empty my brain, which if I am stressed about thousands of different things, ain’t gonna happen.

  5. I didn’t see the original, but this statement stood out to me, “I have asked him to initiate more with me but he always says when he wants to ask, I beat him to it.”

    Regardless of her follow up, this sounds SO manipulative. She asks him to do something, he never does it, so when she does it instead, he says, “Well I was gonna, but YOU did it first!” (Think walking the dog, unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, planning a vacation, etc. too.) In my 34 years on this planet, every single time I’ve seen someone do this, it usually means that person was never going to do what was asked in the first place. If he really wanted to initiate, he probably would have done so without having to be reminded or bugged about it.

    This statement’s cousin is: I don’t believe in giving flowers/chocolates/presents/whatever for Valentine’s Day/birthdays/anniversaries/whatever because I want to do that when I WANT to not because the calendar/Hallmark says so!

    My friend’s husband said that all the time. They got married 13 years ago and he has never gotten her a special present “just because.”

    1. So true! That’s what struck me too about the first letter. But it could also be a protection mechanism on the boyfriend’s part when he’s stressed out and can’t even think of sex, and she’s asking all the time and wanting him to initiate more often. It’s just an easy cop-out to say that, you know? But it’s also manipulative, and as her partner, I kind of feel he should have noticed his girlfriend was getting burned out working a part-time job while on disability (which, if you’re on disability but are able to work “for extra cash” you shouldn’t be able to get that full disability payment, no?)

      1. Just wanted to throw it out there, government disability payments are often very low, most people can’t live off of them and I have known people who nearly starved and ended up homeless while on it. In most places it would pay for rent and food, if you’re lucky. That is why the SSA allows people to make some extra money on the side because it’s really impossible to survive on it alone.

    2. My husband, back then my boyfriend, tried that line with me on the even of our first Valentine’s Day, and I pointed out that in over 6 months together, I’d yet to received any gifts for Christmas or my birthday, and he had never, ever taken me on date. If he couldn’t remember to tell me he cared on a day where the entire culture is reminding him to do so, I didn’t see how I could trust that he’d be doing it at other random moments during the year. Well, the boy certainly shaped up. I get flowers at least once or twice a month, get little gifts and just have him pick my favorite coffee or candy from the store- little things. He’s now always pointed out as the example of perfect supportive husband by all our friends, and I know he takes pride in being the best husband he can be, the same way I take pride in being the best wife to him that I can be. Some girls don’t care, but I care, so it’s nice to have him take notice because he cares about me.

    3. Recovering Lurker says:

      I’m not too sure that it’s manipulative. Hypothetically, if he says he wants it once a week and she waits two weeks to initiate then i’d say he probably is, or at least lying to her about how much he actually wants it.
      But if he says that he wants it once a week and she initiates it a few times a week, chances are she’s going to be initiating before he gets the chance and around the same time that he would be wanting it anyway.

      I’ve had the second one happen to me and it sucks when they accuse you of things when they don’t even give you a chance that’s not on their schedule. But it turned out that guy was pretty manipulative anyway (we tried me initiating more a few months later and he said no 90% of the time).

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        You win dw name of the week. Therefore I like whatever you said above. Double win.

    4. “This statement’s cousin is: I don’t believe in giving flowers/chocolates/presents/whatever for Valentine’s Day/birthdays/anniversaries/whatever because I want to do that when I WANT to not because the calendar/Hallmark says so!”

      I had an ex-boyfriend who said that too. It drove me up the wall because, as you rightly say, rarely is that statement backed up by them giving gifts or special attention on any other day.

      1. My ex would do this with “I love you.” He never said it first. When I called him on it, he said both of those statements. “You beat me to it!” combined with “Well I want to say it because I want to and not because you said so.” So I stopped saying it. For six months. Not only did he never say it but he never NOTICED that it wasn’t being said. When I called him on it finally, he started to accuse me of playing games, but the I pointed out to him that he said he wanted to do it first. Then he wouldn’t stop saying it all the time OH MY GOD! I think he honestly thought that saying it a billion times would make up for the fact that he rarely did.

        Anyway…a zillion reasons why he’s an ex and that’s a big one.

    5. I can relate to the boyfriend’s statement. My husband and I went through a period where my libido was almost nil and his was, well, that of a guy in his early 20s. At the time, it felt to me like he was pestering me for sex constantly, which not only got on my nerves but made me desire sex even less. I was at a level where I probably would have been OK with sex once a week, but he wanted it every day. I felt like if he wasn’t always putting me in “NO” mode by asking me when I wasn’t ready for it, if he left me to my own devices for a few days, my desire would have time to develop and I’d get to the point where I was ready to initiate. But the way things were going, sex was always on HIS terms, never on mine, because my terms and his were so incompatible.

      Things have balanced out a lot since then, I switched BC methods and my sex drive is, gratefully, back and active. But I remember very well what it’s like to be the person being pressured/asked to initiate, and I don’t think the “you never give me a chance” thing is a cop-out with sex the same way it is with walking the dog or doing the dishes. For me, it meant any desire that might have been smoldering in me was stamped out (by his frequent sexual attention) before it had the chance to become a flame.

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