Author Topic: 7 year relationship. No sexual desire. She wants to get married. Any Counselors?  (Read 66028 times)

ysette9

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I’m really sorry to hear that you are both in this situation and I have a lot of sympathy for you both. I am glad you are in counseling and hope that is productive, regardless of outcome.

This particular woman needs an emotional connection with her partner to feel safe and desired and sexy. For me personally I was with my now-husband for many years before we got engaged. I knew I wanted to be with him and him not being on that same page was a real struggle for me. It is incredibly important for partners to be on the same page with big values such as money, culture, career, kids, goals in life. The question of whether to get married or not is a hugely important value that can be very stressful for partners if not aligned. I had a ton of self doubt along the lines of “why am I not good enough? Why isn’t he interested in committing to me? Am I wasting my time and fooling myself that he will eventually want the same thing as me?”

I am very blessed that he did end up in the same place, but just took a lot longer to get there. I feel our relationship really clicked into place fully when we got married. We are now 100% Team and not two people who are living lives in parallel while coordinating a lot. Decisions are made for the good of Team Marriage, not one or the other. So in some ways I’m trying to say that I relate a bit to where your GF is coming from. Adding in a last infidelity that sounds like it was never properly dealt with, that adds insecurity. That isn’t a recipe for sexy time in my mind.

From your perspective I think it is completely reasonable to expect a decent sex love before contemplating marriage. I think that is likely the tip of the iceberg and your problems are simply manifesting themselves through your GF’s low sex drive. Good luck with counseling and I hope your cruise is relaxing and a good chance for you to reconnect.

zoochadookdook

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Well there is a general consensus here that marriage isnt a good idea. I agree - but!
I would ask yourself a few questions here OP.
Do you act toward her as someone you desire? Do you sleep in the same bed? Do you laugh and cuddle and caress?  Do you kiss her and tell her she smells wonderful? Will you sit on the couch and hold her hand? Bring her breakfast in bed?
Sex is not just wham bam thank you ma'am.
Sex starts way before you get to the bedroom, or even touch.
So may be if you want a sexual relationship you need to do some courtship!
Her lack of desire may simply reflect your lack of interest in emotional connection.

We sleep in the same bed, laugh at stupid stuff all the time, snuggle up and binge watch all the time, lately been working on the more physical kissing and such more.  I don't feel like we lack an emotional connection.

zoochadookdook

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Something that hasn't been mentioned yet is the possibility that your girlfriend is demi sexual - someone who only experiences sexual attraction when they have a strong emotional connection with their sexual partner.  That might fit with the notion that she did experience desire for you before your infidelity but that since then she has not been able to recreate the necessary romantic connection with you that would lead to her having sexual feelings towards you.

Her request for a commitment from you in the form of marriage might be what she needs in order for her to recreate that missing romantic connection.  But I can't see how you can make that commitment in the absence of any certainty that it will make that difference.  Commendably, you are not prepared either to lie about your commitment or to make a commitment while thinking that you will break it later if it doesn't work out.  Sadly, I think that means that the two of you have reached an impasse: there is no way forward out of this current situation based on what you say about your commitment to her that can work for both of you.

A relationship which hasn't been sexual for 7 years is a friends relationship or a brother/sister relationship, not a husband/wife relationship.   Married friends tell me that after a few decades their relationship becomes much less about the sex, but marriage should not start out that way.  It might be worth one final try of your girlfriend going off the pill to see if that makes a difference to her - it could well take 3 months or more for her hormones to regulate back to baseline and find this out.  Alternative forms of contraception are essential if you are trying this route.  And if it doesn't work, time for both of you to move on to finding the relationships which will make each of you feel complete.

Good luck.

I spoke to her last night and she said a very similar thing-she doesn't feel emotionally fufilled unless I do propose and commit to her in that way. I don't expect everything to be about sex or with regards to sex, but I do value that in a marriage with a wife I intend to be with until one of us kicks it. She will go off BC after the cruise mid april, i'm just hoping if i don't propse on that trip she doesn't completely emotionally disconnect. This is something she's built up in her head for a while

zoochadookdook

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I want to clarify a few things. She has never held my earlier infedelity directly against me. For the most part, once we got back together it was "for good". Since that point she says she's never imagined anything aside from a future with me. That being said, she also mentioned the other day that she wants to be engaged to feel 100% committed to. I'm not against marriage and she's got a million good qualities-she's great with kids (worked in childcare the last xx years), she makes me happy in the sense of just being around, she's kind, educated, optomistic etc. I don't really know why my mind can't wrap itself around marriage. I'm telling myself it's just that I want intamcy back and establish but I also haven't thought about children that much. I think I would like them but I always imagined I'd be more established/have more finances and a career ironed out prior. I'm 26 (27 in may) for anyone who's been wondering about the age. She's 27 next january. She's asked for me to tell her if i'm not proposing on the cruise we take in 2 weeks just so she won't be nervous/get all wound up to be disappointed and I think that's fair.  Emotionally we share a connection; a pretty good one. When we're together I can imagine that forever. It's not that dark/unhappy of a relationship at all. I'm just having trouble sorting my feelings out.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 01:27:38 PM by zoochadookdook »

Kris

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I think itís likely you canít wrap your head around it because she isnít the right person for you.

Another old person perspective: i canít tell you how many people I know who were in long-term relationships they thought would end in marriage, but eventualky split up because one wasnít able to commit. Then, that person met someone else post-breakup and was engaged within a year or two.

Also: you NEED to tell her you will not be proposing on this cruise. Before you leave. Seriously.

zoochadookdook

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Iím really sorry to hear that you are both in this situation and I have a lot of sympathy for you both. I am glad you are in counseling and hope that is productive, regardless of outcome.

This particular woman needs an emotional connection with her partner to feel safe and desired and sexy. For me personally I was with my now-husband for many years before we got engaged. I knew I wanted to be with him and him not being on that same page was a real struggle for me. It is incredibly important for partners to be on the same page with big values such as money, culture, career, kids, goals in life. The question of whether to get married or not is a hugely important value that can be very stressful for partners if not aligned. I had a ton of self doubt along the lines of ďwhy am I not good enough? Why isnít he interested in committing to me? Am I wasting my time and fooling myself that he will eventually want the same thing as me?Ē

I am very blessed that he did end up in the same place, but just took a lot longer to get there. I feel our relationship really clicked into place fully when we got married. We are now 100% Team and not two people who are living lives in parallel while coordinating a lot. Decisions are made for the good of Team Marriage, not one or the other. So in some ways Iím trying to say that I relate a bit to where your GF is coming from. Adding in a last infidelity that sounds like it was never properly dealt with, that adds insecurity. That isnít a recipe for sexy time in my mind.

From your perspective I think it is completely reasonable to expect a decent sex love before contemplating marriage. I think that is likely the tip of the iceberg and your problems are simply manifesting themselves through your GFís low sex drive. Good luck with counseling and I hope your cruise is relaxing and a good chance for you to reconnect.

I can completely understand her point of view even if i can't share the way she feels. She has stated many times she wants to be "chosen" and imagines our life together and hasn't ever thought of it differently. She equates engagement and marraige to  something very important and  a forward step in her mind. I've been picturing moving forward in our relationship before that but it may not be possible due to her prior mental block which puts me in the hot seat to make a decision. Is my current security and happiness (i'm not unhappy in our relationship) enough for me to commit to engagement? We had one short break prior (like a week) about 4 years back because I had no view on the future and she just saw that as I couldn't commit. I seem to have a history of not wanting something until I lose it (infedelity led to me coming back for weeks, this break was miserable and we came back to eachother). She brought that up and it was a valid point in that I do seem to have commitment issues and that's something else in the play of things.

zoochadookdook

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edit: Update:


I want to clarify a few things. She has never held my earlier infedelity directly against me. For the most part, once we got back together it was "for good". Since that point she says she's never imagined anything aside from a future with me. That being said, she also mentioned the other day that she wants to be engaged to feel 100% committed to. I'm not against marriage and she's got a million good qualities-she's great with kids (worked in childcare the last xx years), she makes me happy in the sense of just being around, she's kind, educated, optomistic etc. I don't really know why my mind can't wrap itself around marriage. I'm telling myself it's just that I want intamcy back and establish but I also haven't thought about children that much. I think I would like them but I always imagined I'd be more established/have more finances and a career ironed out prior. I'm 26 (27 in may) for anyone who's been wondering about the age. She's 25-26 next january. She's asked for me to tell her if i'm not proposing on the cruise we take in 2 weeks just so she won't be nervous/get all wound up to be disappointed and I think that's fair.  Emotionally we share a connection; a pretty good one. When we're together I can imagine that forever. It's not that dark/unhappy of a relationship at all. I'm just having trouble sorting my feelings out. We had one short break prior (like a week) about 4 years back because I had no view on the future and she just saw that as I couldn't commit. I seem to have a history of not wanting something until I lose it (infedelity led to me coming back for weeks, this break was miserable and we came back to eachother). She brought that up and it was a valid point in that I do seem to have commitment issues and that's something else in the play of things.


Hey all so facts
M26. f25. Have been together 7 years.
Early on I cheated, shitbag young kid style. Prior we were very sexually active. Since then-several months in-we haven't had sexual relations.
Lately she's been bringing up engagement and really pushing for it (understandable as it has been 7.5 years).
We went to a consoler twice (again this thursday) and really started opening up afterwards. I love her, she loves and wants to spend the rest of her me-BUT when we started talking about sex and such she mentioned she just never has the desire ever. No drive. No feelings in that department. She has mentioned she's willing to try at least if we get engaged as she pictures us having a regular sex life (there's a cruise we had planned mid April for 11 days) but has no promise she can make herself feel like that at all. She plans on stopping her BC after the cruise as that's really the only hormonal block she can think of. That puts the ball in my court. She was crying and just said she couldn't promise it as it's something she can't feel/she thinks we know eachother well enough and can make anything work by this point. She doesn't even expect to get married for a long time (year+), but she wants the feeling of commitment and being chosen before she can try (her words). I have made it clear I don't believe it would be beneficial to get married if we can't at least figure out some sort of situation. She thinks it could be her bc or just how long it's been. Obviously she said the earlier infidelity played a role in how she viewed sex and that she's always thought we'd have forever together since then/to let herself emotionally try in that department and open up she'd like to be engaged to try at least. I think after this amount of time it is fair that engagement is on the table. She has said that she wants to be married and just live the rest of our life out; and she gets hurt because every time we talk I have the worst case what if scenarios in mind. It's true though; neither of us knows what will happen in the future. She could go through a midlife crisis and hit the lotto/head out. I could get hit crossing the street and not be able to work for a living.

Personally I haven't thought a lot about being married or kids (she wants at least one) and trying to process the time management and implications all of these bring has been stressing me out. I love her and could see a life with her but I need that emotional desire and want to feel wanted. Still not sure what my overall life goals are but i'm working on defining those and understanding where my own happiness comes from while still remaining practical (keeping my 8-5 etc).

I'm posting here to try to get some perspectives. When did you know you wanted to or didn't want to marry someone? When did you decide you wanted or didn't want kids? Is it possible for someone to fluctuate in between asexual and average sexuality? Anyone been in a similar relationship or considering marriage? Thanks

zoochadookdook

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I think itís likely you canít wrap your head around it because she isnít the right person for you.

Another old person perspective: i canít tell you how many people I know who were in long-term relationships they thought would end in marriage, but eventualky split up because one wasnít able to commit. Then, that person met someone else post-breakup and was engaged within a year or two.

Also: you NEED to tell her you will not be proposing on this cruise. Before you leave. Seriously.

Absolutly I plan on telling her. I'm not going to just ride it out and create false expectations if I'm not 100%. I'm hoping that doesn't cause her to just completely retract her emotions but I also don't want to create a conditional engagement.

SuperSecretName

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dude.  you are way too young not to be banging all the time.  you are a comfort blanket to her.  It's not gonna get better, it's only gonna get worse.

do not propose.  do not marry her.  do not get her pregnant (use condoms if she stops birth control).  in fact, you should start using condoms now (not saying she'd stop BC before telling you, but....)

signed,
been there, done that.

p.s. in more PC terms, she loves you.  She is not in love with you. There is a difference.  It's not gonna change.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2019, 07:12:13 AM by SuperSecretName »

fuzzy math

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Its ok for a person to have commitment issues. But that person would be happiest in a relationship where commitment isn't an entrance fee into the relationship.

Its ok for a person to have hangups about sex. But that person would be happiest in a relationship where sex expectations isn't an entrance fee into the relationship.

But those 2 things combined do not make a recipe for a happy relationship or a happy marriage. You seem to think that we are all unfairly judging or characterizing your girlfriend. We're not. We've had the life experience to have been in relationships like these and see them fail on a catastrophic levels.

I dated a guy with severe commitment issues. I felt like a rejected piece of shit. I thought if I only loved him harder, showed him more kindness that it would "fix him". ALERT: THERE IS NO FIXING PEOPLE. You will hopefully find a partner someday that completes you in such a way that there are no commitment issues. That would be an indication that the relationship is right for you both. Your GF will hopefully find a partner that completes her in such a way that there are no sex issues. That would be an indication that the relationship is right for her.

No amount of additional information or references from you is going to change the multitude of life experiences that the older and wiser here are giving you. The reality is what it is. Naive younger me had a really hard time with the concepts I mentioned above. But I finally got fed up and ended the relationship for good and cut off all contact. The fact that you cheated, and you also took a break later really highlights that your relationship is harder than it should be. My marriage is easy. There were never commitment issues, we don't fight and we work out the sex stuff. I only met my husband because I got fed up enough of feeling bad in my prior relationship.

LifeHappens

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(i'm not unhappy in our relationship)
Ok. But are you HAPPY in your relationship? Do you wake up overjoyed to be together? Do you look at your SO and know she is definitely the spark in your life?

zoochadookdook

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(i'm not unhappy in our relationship)
Ok. But are you HAPPY in your relationship? Do you wake up overjoyed to be together? Do you look at your SO and know she is definitely the spark in your life?

She's my person, I don't really think of anyone else in terms of what can I do for her/how can I make her happy.  I'm happy to be together. It's not that fiery "first met passion" but it's been happy enough to make us get to where we are now.

Cool Friend

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It sounds like you are committed to her, so I don't really understand why she thinks your commitment won't be real until you get engaged.  It doesn't sound like she takes your commitment seriously.

If you're set on staying with her for the rest of your life, reconcile yourself to a life of celibacy.  I promise that getting engaged won't change her attitude about sex.  Are you okay with that?

Tyson

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Hmmm, so what happens if you get engaged and the sex doesn't change?

zoochadookdook

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It sounds like you are committed to her, so I don't really understand why she thinks your commitment won't be real until you get engaged.  It doesn't sound like she takes your commitment seriously.

If you're set on staying with her for the rest of your life, reconcile yourself to a life of celibacy.  I promise that getting engaged won't change her attitude about sex.  Are you okay with that?

We've been able to discern that she doesn't feel 100% committed to unless I do get engaged-which is true because engagement is asking for marraige.  Very likely due to cheating earlier on. I've been asking myself the same thing and still havent come up with a personal answer. I think i could do it, but i dont want to do it.

zoochadookdook

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Hmmm, so what happens if you get engaged and the sex doesn't change?

That's what she believes will change her mindset and willingness to open up physically again. She set that standard in her mind and I respect it. That being said-that's the main concern of my stress. Like the what if we can't regain that connection? She wants to move forward and believes we can establish it and work through anything but I believe it's something we should work on prior. That makes her feel not committed to and cycle repeats ha

Cool Friend

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It sounds like you are committed to her, so I don't really understand why she thinks your commitment won't be real until you get engaged.  It doesn't sound like she takes your commitment seriously.

If you're set on staying with her for the rest of your life, reconcile yourself to a life of celibacy.  I promise that getting engaged won't change her attitude about sex.  Are you okay with that?

We've been able to discern that she doesn't feel 100% committed to unless I do get engaged-which is true because engagement is asking for marraige.  Very likely due to cheating earlier on. I've been asking myself the same thing and still havent come up with a personal answer. I think i could do it, but i dont want to do it.

And there's nothing wrong with that.  It doesn't make you a bad guy.

You can still share love for each other and have this friendship for your entire life if you both want to, btw.  I was in a similar situation once, but she was an important person in my life whose friendship I didn't want to lose.  We're still friends 15 years later, and breaking up was one of the best things that ever happened to our relationship.

Cassie

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Kris is right. When the relationship is not right you canít commit. My son lived with a woman for 7 years and couldnít commit. They broke up and within a year she was happily married and my son was 3 years later. We all knew the relationship was not right whereas my son thought he didnít want to marry anyone.

Boofinator

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I'll add to the echo chamber: What you've experienced for the last seven years might feel normal to you, but by all outward appearances you are living in an extremely unhappy relationship. Breaking up will be extremely difficult if you choose to go that path, but know what's more difficult? Establishing a healthy relationship when you're already rutted into an unhealthy one.

I'll also repeat what others have said: I speak from experience. I started a relationship with now-wife not four months after getting out of a long-term relationship that was, as far as I can tell, an order of magnitude better than yours but still pretty shitty (ex-gf is now happily married as well).

Good luck.

Better Change

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Spend a few hours on the reddit deadbedrooms forum.  That should give you all the clarity you need from people who are 10, 20, 30 years down the road from where you are now.

zoochadookdook

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Spend a few hours on the reddit deadbedrooms forum.  That should give you all the clarity you need from people who are 10, 20, 30 years down the road from where you are now.

Oh yeah trust me, strolled down there. It's one of the more depressing forums out there.

zoochadookdook

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We went to our 3rd counsoling last night and it was the hardest one so far. We talked about the past, when I had cheated how it made her feel (not chosen-like i literally chose another girl over her) and when we had seperated a few years later and how she had felt uncommited to/unwanted until I came back. We've established a cycle of "I don't know what I want until it's gone" on those 2 occasions and her having insecurities from not being chosen. We still both believe our point is in the right. She believes if she opens up and initiates sex it will just be to try to get me to getting to engagement. I feel like we need to establish this before engagement. We're both so entrenched in our feelings that it's still not budging anywhich way. We talked about expectations on the vacation and still aren't sure how to take it. She mentioned "why's it always me that gets my heart broken" and that has been true this relationship. I'm trying to rationalize engagement at least to see if we can bring it back-but she just can't get to intamcy without it. There's just too much of a mental block from our past and I respect her for it. It doesn't do any good questioning why or how she feels but rather understanding this is how it has to be for her. It's frustrating. For both of us. And the more we talk about it the harder it gets as it feels like we're both trying to convince eachother of the impossible. We do see a life together and we both want that but how we want that is different.  HOWEVER- this morning at work she did text me that she had a sassy dream involving us last night which she didn't expect at all based on how our conversations have gone so.....Idk, maybe we can explore that a bit more? It's a step in the right direction out of nowhere.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 09:09:41 AM by zoochadookdook »

Kris

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We went to our 3rd counsoling last night and it was the hardest one so far. We talked about the past, when I had cheated how it made her feel (not chosen-like i literally chose another girl over her) and when we had seperated a few years later and how she had felt uncommited to/unwanted until I came back. We've established a cycle of "I don't know what I want until it's gone" on those 2 occasions and her having insecurities from not being chosen. We still both believe our point is in the right. She believes if she opens up and initiates sex it will just be to try to get me to getting to engagement. I feel like we need to establish this before engagement. We're both so entrenched in our feelings that it's still not budging anywhich way. We talked about expectations on the vacation and still aren't sure how to take it. She mentioned "why's it always me that gets my heart broken" and that has been true this relationship. I'm trying to rationalize engagement at least to see if we can bring it back-but she just can't get to intamcy without it. There's just too much of a mental block from our past and I respect her for it. It doesn't do any good questioning why or how she feels but rather understanding this is how it has to be for her.

This is extremely, extremely troubling.

zoochadookdook

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We went to our 3rd counsoling last night and it was the hardest one so far. We talked about the past, when I had cheated how it made her feel (not chosen-like i literally chose another girl over her) and when we had seperated a few years later and how she had felt uncommited to/unwanted until I came back. We've established a cycle of "I don't know what I want until it's gone" on those 2 occasions and her having insecurities from not being chosen. We still both believe our point is in the right. She believes if she opens up and initiates sex it will just be to try to get me to getting to engagement. I feel like we need to establish this before engagement. We're both so entrenched in our feelings that it's still not budging anywhich way. We talked about expectations on the vacation and still aren't sure how to take it. She mentioned "why's it always me that gets my heart broken" and that has been true this relationship. I'm trying to rationalize engagement at least to see if we can bring it back-but she just can't get to intamcy without it. There's just too much of a mental block from our past and I respect her for it. It doesn't do any good questioning why or how she feels but rather understanding this is how it has to be for her.

This is extremely, extremely troubling.

It's honest, I mean she literally can't make herself want to feel like opening up without that sense of commitment. It's how her mind is wired due to our past and It's not something I can just make points against to change. She said she could do it but she feels like she'd be forcing it and not wanting to if she didn't have the promise, security and devotion that enagagment provides.

Cool Friend

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What, if anything, has the counselor suggested as possible ways to work through this impasse?

zoochadookdook

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What, if anything, has the counselor suggested as possible ways to work through this impasse?

Nothing really. I mean we have 3 options. Work on sex life. Get engaged/work on sex life. Break up. She can't do the first without the second. I still don't think I can do the second without the first. I'm not sure-I feel like i'm lying to her and i've told her that.  It really does beg the question though-is it worth it for me to risk it to gain our relationship and try to win it back? In her mind if I don't propose we haven't tried everything we could. There could be regret from that. But I would also regret lying in that I planned on mairraige without knowing our sexual life by engaging in engagement. Like what would I regret more? I can't really know unless I try
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 07:48:28 AM by zoochadookdook »

Kris

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We went to our 3rd counsoling last night and it was the hardest one so far. We talked about the past, when I had cheated how it made her feel (not chosen-like i literally chose another girl over her) and when we had seperated a few years later and how she had felt uncommited to/unwanted until I came back. We've established a cycle of "I don't know what I want until it's gone" on those 2 occasions and her having insecurities from not being chosen. We still both believe our point is in the right. She believes if she opens up and initiates sex it will just be to try to get me to getting to engagement. I feel like we need to establish this before engagement. We're both so entrenched in our feelings that it's still not budging anywhich way. We talked about expectations on the vacation and still aren't sure how to take it. She mentioned "why's it always me that gets my heart broken" and that has been true this relationship. I'm trying to rationalize engagement at least to see if we can bring it back-but she just can't get to intamcy without it. There's just too much of a mental block from our past and I respect her for it. It doesn't do any good questioning why or how she feels but rather understanding this is how it has to be for her.

This is extremely, extremely troubling.

It's honest, I mean she literally can't make herself want to feel like opening up without that sense of commitment. It's how her mind is wired due to our past and It's not something I can just make points against to change. She said she could do it but she feels like she'd be forcing it and not wanting to if she didn't have the promise, security and devotion that enagagment provides.

Yes, thankfully she is being honest. She could hide this from you.

But it is still extremely troubling. From a relationship standpoint, it really does not bode well.

She wants to be engaged. She is pinning everything on an idea of how she will feel differently -- differently about YOU -- if she has that.

She doesn't know if she'll feel that way. She thinks everything will change. But she doesn't know.

Honestly, I think it's extremely unlikely a switch will flip and her libido will turn on and engage once there is a ring on her finger. And if she doesn't feel the trust, security, and devotion from you now, a ring isn't gonna be a permanent solution.

My guess? If you propose to her, there might be a little "honeymoon" period where she feels temporarily better. But then her brain will realize that a ring and some words really don't change much. Engaged people cheat. Married people cheat. And then, little by little, she'll start to feel less confident, as she realizes that she's been hanging all her beliefs on something that isn't magic. And she'll be back to where she started.


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All I see after reading this whole thread is option number 3. Break up. You both will be so much happier. I promise. I was in a very unhappy relationship for almost two years, and it was SO MUCH WORK. We also had intimacy issues (he was basically uninterested). We both loved each other, dearly, and thought that was enough to keep the relationship alive, but it wasn't/isn't. Our conflicts were big, and never led to any resolution. We would pretend our huge misalignments weren't there to keep the relationship going along for another few months, and then it would come to light and we would realize again how poor of a match we were. I couldn't imagine life without him...then I broke up with him, and faced life without him, and it was SO MUCH BETTER. I felt lighter, happier, more free, and the idea of someday having a happy relationship with someone who was aligned with me just made me giddy. I couldn't possibly have seen it when I was in the thick of the relationship, but literally within a week of breaking up I was like...why didn't I do this a year ago? I encourage you to really truly decide if all of this counseling (that doesn't seem to be leading anywhere) and all of these discussions/issues are things you want to deal with for the rest of your life with this person...because people don't change. They don't.  If you are committed to marrying her exactly how she is, no sex, no trust, then go ahead...it will probably be like that forever. But, life could be so much better, I promise. I'm still single now, and my life on my own is SO much better than it ever was even in the happiest times in my last relationship.

Samuel

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Honestly, when I read this I see what most of the other replies see: two young people without many relationship reps who haven't yet learned that the worst breakups aren't the angry screaming ones, they're the bittersweet ones where things are 90% great but deep friendship and mutual affection are now just obscuring the fact that the romantic spark is dead and gone. Been there a couple times, and both times I was the last to be convinced of it. It SUCKS, which is why it can be so very tempting to avoid accepting the truth.

But I'm also a bit baffled how this didn't come to a head after a year or two. On some level I admire your (mutual) fortitude, but mostly I see missed opportunities for learning and growth. People have correctly highlighted the concept of sunk costs, but opportunity costs also need to be considered here. If you both had squarely faced this situation 6 years ago you'd either have a much deeper and more satisfying relationship or you'd have 6 additional (prime!) years to date and love and learn and grow.     

I don't think either of you are learning the things you need to learn and growing the way you need to grow while in this relationship.

jeninco

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I've been reading along, trying to put my finger on what's bothering me here, and I think it's that she's relying on your actions to regulate her feelings, in a way.   For reference, I am OLD, and have been married for over 20 years.

Something about "if you do X, I'll feel Y" is putting far too much responsibility on you for something that's ultimately hers to control, or not. But it's definitely not your responsibility, and it's an unhealthy relationship dynamic to establish.

Blueberries

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Hmmm, so what happens if you get engaged and the sex doesn't change?

That's what she believes will change her mindset and willingness to open up physically again. She set that standard in her mind and I respect it. That being said-that's the main concern of my stress. Like the what if we can't regain that connection? She wants to move forward and believes we can establish it and work through anything but I believe it's something we should work on prior. That makes her feel not committed to and cycle repeats ha

I didn't respond to this the other day because I already said what I had to say, but I keep coming back to this.  You're working with a therapist (which I am not), but this is where my mind goes:  When I lose weight, everything will be better.  When my boyfriend gives me a ring, everything will be better.  When we move houses, everything will be better.  The problem is, on its own, the ring, the new location, the weight loss; they don't change the problems outside of the particular issue they are solving.  A ring may change things in the beginning, but if it isn't enough of a catalyst for her to ACTIVELY change, it won't.  Her desire to change has to be great and the ring will lose its newness in time.

dcheesi

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We went to our 3rd counsoling last night and it was the hardest one so far. We talked about the past, when I had cheated how it made her feel (not chosen-like i literally chose another girl over her) and when we had seperated a few years later and how she had felt uncommited to/unwanted until I came back. We've established a cycle of "I don't know what I want until it's gone" on those 2 occasions and her having insecurities from not being chosen. We still both believe our point is in the right. She believes if she opens up and initiates sex it will just be to try to get me to getting to engagement. I feel like we need to establish this before engagement. We're both so entrenched in our feelings that it's still not budging anywhich way. We talked about expectations on the vacation and still aren't sure how to take it. She mentioned "why's it always me that gets my heart broken" and that has been true this relationship. I'm trying to rationalize engagement at least to see if we can bring it back-but she just can't get to intamcy without it. There's just too much of a mental block from our past and I respect her for it. It doesn't do any good questioning why or how she feels but rather understanding this is how it has to be for her.

This is extremely, extremely troubling.

It's honest, I mean she literally can't make herself want to feel like opening up without that sense of commitment. It's how her mind is wired due to our past and It's not something I can just make points against to change. She said she could do it but she feels like she'd be forcing it and not wanting to if she didn't have the promise, security and devotion that enagagment provides.

Yes, thankfully she is being honest. She could hide this from you.

But it is still extremely troubling. From a relationship standpoint, it really does not bode well.

She wants to be engaged. She is pinning everything on an idea of how she will feel differently -- differently about YOU -- if she has that.

She doesn't know if she'll feel that way. She thinks everything will change. But she doesn't know.

Honestly, I think it's extremely unlikely a switch will flip and her libido will turn on and engage once there is a ring on her finger. And if she doesn't feel the trust, security, and devotion from you now, a ring isn't gonna be a permanent solution.

My guess? If you propose to her, there might be a little "honeymoon" period where she feels temporarily better. But then her brain will realize that a ring and some words really don't change much. Engaged people cheat. Married people cheat. And then, little by little, she'll start to feel less confident, as she realizes that she's been hanging all her beliefs on something that isn't magic. And she'll be back to where she started.
Also, I think in the end she wants something from OP that OP can't give. She wants OP to want to get engaged/married, even without the sex. Even if OP proposes at this point, she'll always suspect that it was just to get things moving on the sex side, and that doesn't fulfill her need* to feel "chosen" and loved "unconditionally**".

[* whether it's a realistic need is irrelevant in this scenario]
[** obviously truly unconditional love is unrealistic and would invite abuse, but I don't think that's what most people mean when they say/think this. We can no doubt debate endlessly about what this really means, but in the end what matters is that it's something more than what OP can offer her at the moment.]

shenlong55

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Just wanted to chime in with a small note regarding the "unconditional love" discussion.  I don't think unconditional love is what allows someone to take advantage of you, I think it's a lack of boundaries.

Unconditional Love vs Loving Without Boundaries

Cool Friend

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I've been reading along, trying to put my finger on what's bothering me here, and I think it's that she's relying on your actions to regulate her feelings, in a way.   For reference, I am OLD, and have been married for over 20 years.

Something about "if you do X, I'll feel Y" is putting far too much responsibility on you for something that's ultimately hers to control, or not. But it's definitely not your responsibility, and it's an unhealthy relationship dynamic to establish.

This is dead on, imo.

I think she's set up an unsolvable ultimatum.  She knows you don't want to get engaged/married yet, so that's become the bar you need to cross to get a sexual relationship going, knowing that it probably won't happen.  So she's convinced you that if you don't propose, you haven't tried everything, and not having a sexual relationship becomes your fault.  When in reality, you don't have a sexual relationship because she is not interested in one.  The reasons why she's not interested are not really relevant, since they are not things you can act on... You can't go back in time and not cheat on her, and you can't force her to trust you if she doesn't.

Freedom2016

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All the angsting, analyzing, justifying, excuse-making, hoping, ultimatums, etc. drama that you/she are engaged in will never result in a happy ending with each other.

I know a guy who was married to an asexual woman. She wouldn't deal with it; he cheated out of sexual frustration; they divorced. The end.

Find someone else that you are compatible with.



sol

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I think that many of these replies are overly harsh, even if I don't exactly disagree with their recommendations.

All I see here is sadness.  I'm of the opinion that no one should even consider getting married until they hit at least 30, and that your 20s should be spent figuring out what kind of person you most want to spend your life with.  What I see here is people who haven't figured it out, trying to jump in too early, and thus setting themselves up for divorce. 

But love blinds you in all kinds of different ways.  If I may for a moment offer you one of the hardest love lessons I had to learn, it's that if you have doubts now then things are only going to get worse.  Marriage is hard and children only make it worse, and you need to have a rock solid foundation built before you try to go adding all that froofery on top of it.  In every case when I debated with myself whether my ongoing relationship struggles were normal growing pains or a sign of impending doom, it was the doom.  Always the doom.

Who you marry is probably the single most important decision you will make in your life, and should be considered with the same sort of cautious deliberation that you used to approach buying a house, or choosing a college.  If you're not absolutely thrilled with your choice, it's not the right choice.

You don't sound thrilled.

zoochadookdook

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I've been reading along, trying to put my finger on what's bothering me here, and I think it's that she's relying on your actions to regulate her feelings, in a way.   For reference, I am OLD, and have been married for over 20 years.

Something about "if you do X, I'll feel Y" is putting far too much responsibility on you for something that's ultimately hers to control, or not. But it's definitely not your responsibility, and it's an unhealthy relationship dynamic to establish.

To be fair she hasn't said she'll feel "y"-she just promised she could try as much as she could as she wants that in a marraige. She has not promised to feel any way and has told me through tears she can't tell me if she'll be able to. It's not my responsibility, but at the same time I'm also in the boat of "if you establish intamcy for a period of time and it is sustainable-i'll feel like i'm ready to advance to engagement" scenario.

zoochadookdook

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We went to our 3rd counsoling last night and it was the hardest one so far. We talked about the past, when I had cheated how it made her feel (not chosen-like i literally chose another girl over her) and when we had seperated a few years later and how she had felt uncommited to/unwanted until I came back. We've established a cycle of "I don't know what I want until it's gone" on those 2 occasions and her having insecurities from not being chosen. We still both believe our point is in the right. She believes if she opens up and initiates sex it will just be to try to get me to getting to engagement. I feel like we need to establish this before engagement. We're both so entrenched in our feelings that it's still not budging anywhich way. We talked about expectations on the vacation and still aren't sure how to take it. She mentioned "why's it always me that gets my heart broken" and that has been true this relationship. I'm trying to rationalize engagement at least to see if we can bring it back-but she just can't get to intamcy without it. There's just too much of a mental block from our past and I respect her for it. It doesn't do any good questioning why or how she feels but rather understanding this is how it has to be for her.

This is extremely, extremely troubling.

It's honest, I mean she literally can't make herself want to feel like opening up without that sense of commitment. It's how her mind is wired due to our past and It's not something I can just make points against to change. She said she could do it but she feels like she'd be forcing it and not wanting to if she didn't have the promise, security and devotion that enagagment provides.

Yes, thankfully she is being honest. She could hide this from you.

But it is still extremely troubling. From a relationship standpoint, it really does not bode well.

She wants to be engaged. She is pinning everything on an idea of how she will feel differently -- differently about YOU -- if she has that.

She doesn't know if she'll feel that way. She thinks everything will change. But she doesn't know.

Honestly, I think it's extremely unlikely a switch will flip and her libido will turn on and engage once there is a ring on her finger. And if she doesn't feel the trust, security, and devotion from you now, a ring isn't gonna be a permanent solution.

My guess? If you propose to her, there might be a little "honeymoon" period where she feels temporarily better. But then her brain will realize that a ring and some words really don't change much. Engaged people cheat. Married people cheat. And then, little by little, she'll start to feel less confident, as she realizes that she's been hanging all her beliefs on something that isn't magic. And she'll be back to where she started.

Also, I think in the end she wants something from OP that OP can't give. She wants OP to want to get engaged/married, even without the sex. Even if OP proposes at this point, she'll always suspect that it was just to get things moving on the sex side, and that doesn't fulfill her need* to feel "chosen" and loved "unconditionally**".

[* whether it's a realistic need is irrelevant in this scenario]
[** obviously truly unconditional love is unrealistic and would invite abuse, but I don't think that's what most people mean when they say/think this. We can no doubt debate endlessly about what this really means, but in the end what matters is that it's something more than what OP can offer her at the moment.]

She doesn't understand why I can't give it though. I've told her I could, but it'd be lying. We're both so entrenched on what we deem is the right course of action that we can't settle halfway on our mindsets here. I've told her even if i were to propose right now, I still would not want to be married unless our relationship was fixed. She understands that but doesn't understand how I can't commit when the only other alternative is breaking up. She wants this to work, I want this this to work, but something has to give either way.

zoochadookdook

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I've been considering saying somethign along the following.

I am a sexual person and it is not in my best interest to advance a relationship without that. You say you need engagement to feel 100% commited to. I need constant sex to feel committed to you. Either our relationship becomes sexual and we have an outstanding sex life, or we should seperate. Our sex life has to stay outstanding for a long period of time before I will consider advancing our relationship. I hope we can work through this but I know you feel like we've done all we can do.


sol

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I've been considering saying somethign along the following.

I am a sexual person and it is not in my best interest to advance a relationship without that. You say you need engagement to feel 100% commited to. I need constant sex to feel committed to you. Either our relationship becomes sexual and we have an outstanding sex life, or we should seperate. Our sex life has to stay outstanding for a long period of time before I will consider advancing our relationship. I hope we can work through this but I know you feel like we've done all we can do.

I think that's a terrible idea.  Please don't, unless this is just a really bad "I'm dumping you" speech.  At the very least, you would need to soften your language. 

You can't demand "constant sex" and "an outstanding sex life" from anyone, because these things take two to tango and if she's not into it then you're not holding up your end of the bargain.  That's just how sex works.  It's never about one person.  If you insist on laying down ultimatums of your own, you should probably talk about your desires for "sexual intimacy" or "sexual fulfillment" or even "a mutually satisfactory sex life" instead of saying "you need to give me constant sex all the time or I'm going to leave you."  That's a dick move.

Married people get very good at discussing these things (and all things) as shared problems that WE need to work on, together, not something one person needs to change or the other one bolts.  There is no bolting in a marriage.  You're on the same team, and every one of her problems becomes a shared problem for the both of you.  In a healthy marriage, every problem becomes a team effort. 

Tyson

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I've been considering saying somethign along the following.

I am a sexual person and it is not in my best interest to advance a relationship without that. You say you need engagement to feel 100% commited to. I need constant sex to feel committed to you. Either our relationship becomes sexual and we have an outstanding sex life, or we should seperate. Our sex life has to stay outstanding for a long period of time before I will consider advancing our relationship. I hope we can work through this but I know you feel like we've done all we can do.

I think that's a terrible idea.  Please don't, unless this is just a really bad "I'm dumping you" speech.  At the very least, you would need to soften your language. 

You can't demand "constant sex" and "an outstanding sex life" from anyone, because these things take two to tango and if she's not into it then you're not holding up your end of the bargain.  That's just how sex works.  It's never about one person.  If you insist on laying down ultimatums of your own, you should probably talk about your desires for "sexual intimacy" or "sexual fulfillment" or even "a mutually satisfactory sex life" instead of saying "you need to give me constant sex all the time or I'm going to leave you."  That's a dick move.

Married people get very good at discussing these things (and all things) as shared problems that WE need to work on, together, not something one person needs to change or the other one bolts.  There is no bolting in a marriage.  You're on the same team, and every one of her problems becomes a shared problem for the both of you.  In a healthy marriage, every problem becomes a team effort.
I might agree with you, if he were already married.  But he's not.  Right now, it's best to state your needs up front, with clarity before even considering a big giant step like getting engaged/married. 

bwall

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Ultimatums are rarely a good idea.

Roots&Wings

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Indeed, yes, but this really sounds like a fundamental difference in how they each view the importance of sex in a relationship.

zoochadookdook

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She's given me one in the terms of if we don't get engaged soon she doesn't want to continue this (based on how long it's been/how long she's been thinking of marraige). That's the very rough terminology and wording, and it would involve more of a mutually compatible but still sustainable sex life that we could both enjoy but that's the rough draft. She may very well say I'm giving up by not getting engaged and at least trying to make it work but my morale will not let me promise that when I am not getting married without a sexual relationship. I've done it for years and it's made me realize I can not just compartmentalize and ignore my own needs. She wants to "move" forward but the only way she sees that is engagement/prior to her trying to establish our sex life.  I'm at a loss for how else to approach this.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 12:45:08 PM by zoochadookdook »

Boofinator

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I'm at a loss for how else to approach this.

It's long past time to kick her to the curb and put zoochadookdook back on the meat market. Whether you believe it or not, you can meet another person who you will fall even more in love with than the current SO. And you will come to realize that current SO was not the love of your life, but rather an important relationship at some time in your past that you will cherish but be ever so thankful that you did not marry.

zoochadookdook

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I'm at a loss for how else to approach this.

It's long past time to kick her to the curb and put zoochadookdook back on the meat market. Whether you believe it or not, you can meet another person who you will fall even more in love with than the current SO. And you will come to realize that current SO was not the love of your life, but rather an important relationship at some time in your past that you will cherish but be ever so thankful that you did not marry.

Lol i'm not kicking her to the curb. She's awesome. Our house awesome. We love eachother. If we seperate because we get through this i'd still let her stay as long as she needed to make other plans/sort out everything. It'd suck but I'd still love her.

Boofinator

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I'm at a loss for how else to approach this.

It's long past time to kick her to the curb and put zoochadookdook back on the meat market. Whether you believe it or not, you can meet another person who you will fall even more in love with than the current SO. And you will come to realize that current SO was not the love of your life, but rather an important relationship at some time in your past that you will cherish but be ever so thankful that you did not marry.

Lol i'm not kicking her to the curb. She's awesome. Our house awesome. We love eachother. If we seperate because we get through this i'd still let her stay as long as she needed to make other plans/sort out everything. It'd suck but I'd still love her.

I should have specified "metaphorically". So, not in the sense that you don't appreciate her as a person, but in the sense she is not THE ONE for you, and hence any more time that you spend with her in a relationship is preventing you from meeting someone who fulfills you. A lot of us on this board are rooting for your happiness, which is probably hard to comprehend when we are telling you to let go of someone that makes you happy on many levels, but you will have to take that leap of faith if you want a happy lifelong partner. As Sol stated so eloquently, if you are not totally thrilled to be with her in just about every respect, she is probably not the best fit to be your partner for the next 50+ years.

zoochadookdook

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I'm at a loss for how else to approach this.

It's long past time to kick her to the curb and put zoochadookdook back on the meat market. Whether you believe it or not, you can meet another person who you will fall even more in love with than the current SO. And you will come to realize that current SO was not the love of your life, but rather an important relationship at some time in your past that you will cherish but be ever so thankful that you did not marry.

Lol i'm not kicking her to the curb. She's awesome. Our house awesome. We love eachother. If we seperate because we get through this i'd still let her stay as long as she needed to make other plans/sort out everything. It'd suck but I'd still love her.

I should have specified "metaphorically". So, not in the sense that you don't appreciate her as a person, but in the sense she is not THE ONE for you, and hence any more time that you spend with her in a relationship is preventing you from meeting someone who fulfills you. A lot of us on this board are rooting for your happiness, which is probably hard to comprehend when we are telling you to let go of someone that makes you happy on many levels, but you will have to take that leap of faith if you want a happy lifelong partner. As Sol stated so eloquently, if you are not totally thrilled to be with her in just about every respect, she is probably not the best fit to be your partner for the next 50+ years.

Sure! I'm certain I'll think back on this months/years from now regardless of where I end up and view it as a "why was I so concerned or I regret that" sort of decision but either way something will change. Marriage may never be for me, but currently speaking she'd be the only one I'd consider it with. I've thought about our life and it'd be pretty cushy but not if we can't reestablish our relationship. I'm exhausting those efforts first and if we can't work anything out it is time to move on.

index

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My wife and I cheated on eachother while we were dating. We broke-up for a couple years, got back together, dated for two years, were engaged for a year and have been married for going on 7 years. Getting over infidelity is hard. It requires you both to forgive each other and, to a certain extent, forget. You both have to be willing to let your guard down and that blind, "dumb trust" to return.

What, if anything, has the counselor suggested as possible ways to work through this impasse?
Nothing really. I mean we have 3 options. Work on sex life. Get engaged/work on sex life. Break up. She can't do the first without the second. I still don't think I can do the second without the first. I'm not sure-I feel like i'm lying to her and i've told her that.  It really does beg the question though-is it worth it for me to risk it to gain our relationship and try to win it back? In her mind if I don't propose we haven't tried everything we could. There could be regret from that. But I would also regret lying in that I planned on mairraige without knowing our sexual life by engaging in engagement. Like what would I regret more? I can't really know unless I try


The problem is not the sex life. It is a symptom of no trust. You need to talk to each other about the cheating. She needs to understand why you did it, why it's not going to happen again, and why you are smitten with her. If you two cannot work that out, then you have no business getting married in the first place.   

This needs to happen when you are dating. You are going to have and "engagement-moon" then engagement is going to bring on a lot of other stressors (planning a wedding, friends and family expectations, money, etc.) and the engagement won't be about fixing this fundamental issue.

I've been considering saying somethign along the following.

I am a sexual person and it is not in my best interest to advance a relationship without that. You say you need engagement to feel 100% commited to. I need constant sex to feel committed to you. Either our relationship becomes sexual and we have an outstanding sex life, or we should seperate. Our sex life has to stay outstanding for a long period of time before I will consider advancing our relationship. I hope we can work through this but I know you feel like we've done all we can do.

Sol is right, this isn't how sex works in a mature relationship, but at least you are communicating what is important to you. 

She doesn't trust you and can't open up physically, and you waited until you were confronted with a life of celibacy to say something. You were both happy to live together as BFFs in the meantime. You are in this whole catch 22 because you both don't know how to communicate and have been sweeping your issues under the rug rather than dealing with them.   

Communication is something you are supposed to figure out when you are dating not when you are engaged to get married.

To be really honest with you. You have spent the majority of your adult lives together reinforcing bad habits. Your peers have had a lot more practice and experience cycling through relationships to find what works. I think both of you have a lot of growing to do and you grow the fastest when you change the paradigm and learn from new people.


ysette9

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Have you considered taking a break from the relationship and from each other? Not necessarily a full-on breakup, but time apart. I think some distance and time alone could give you both some much-needed perspective.

When I was at a frustrating impasse with my relationship when I wanted to move forward already and he wasn’t ready, I took a temporary job assignment in another state. We didn’t break up, but we were long distance for a while. I needed that distance to be alone and process. My hope was that time apart would make him realize what he had and what he wanted. I believe now that it is important for people to develop individually to be whole when they come together in a relationship.