My boyfriend & I have been living together for six years. We have a one year old son together, and he has a 10 year old daughter from his prior marriage. After our first couple of years together, during which we were very passionate about one another and very sexually active, our sex life seemed to deteriorate very quickly–long before our son was conceived. He no longer seems to be interested in sex. It is rare for him not to push me away when I make advances. I am 33, he is 40. He’s made excuses about his age, that he’s tired, doesn’t feel well, doesn’t feel like it; he’s even said that relationships don’t remain as they begin (duh!) and that’s the reason for his decreased interest. I’ve heard it all. This has effected me in so many ways. I have become very resentful toward him for this and other reasons, so much so that at times, I feel like I hate him. I have become numb to him to avoid the pain of the constant rejection; making advances to him is now sort of a joke to me. I don’t even know why I do it. I feel sexually dead, I blame him entirely and I despise him for making things this way and giving me no reasonable explanation for it all. I have wondered if he’s cheating on me, if he’s gay, if he just doesn’t love me anymore. You name it, I’ve wondered it. I’ve tried to talk with him about it, and nothing I say changes anything. I’ve asked him to see a doctor about it, perhaps get on medication for it, he all but refuses. It seems he doesn’t care how I feel or about my needs as a human being. I often lay in bed next to him and I can’t even face him without crying; I roll over and try to go to sleep hugging the edge of the bed, wishing he would just show me some genuine affection. When he does finally show me affection, which is very rare, I can’t stand for him to touch me. He is the opposite of the person he presented to me when we moved in together. I admit I have gained some weight since then; I went from a size 10 to 12, then after the baby I’ve been a 14. I’ve wondered if that is the problem, but his ex-wife was bigger than I’ve ever been when he started dating her–she was always a “big” woman. On top of all this, he has a huge plastic tote packed to the gills with smut magazines and videos. Always has. We’ve had several major issues in the past over the sex sites he’s visited on the Internet. He would tell me he’s too tired to have sex, I would fall asleep, then wake up hours later to find him viewing these sites on the internet. There is so much more to the story, but I don’t want to impose. The bottom line is I’m desperate for our relationship to change, but I fear it never will and I will have to spend at least the next 20 years with this man for my son’s sake. And I despise this man more and more every day. I have suppressed my emotions for him until they are all but dead. And what makes it all even worse is that, other than this issue, he’s a good guy; works hard, good to his kids, helps around the house, love my parents, clean and neat, intelligent, basically lets me run the household and do as I please, rarely taking issue with anything. I really don’t know what to do. Should I just shut up and put up with this? If I didn’t say anything, it’s entirely realistic to estimate we would have sex maybe once every two months, and it wouldn’t necessarily show any great effort to be pleasing on his part at that. I just don’t know what to do; I hope you can give me some suggestions.
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You’re feeling depressed, and your man is withdrawn from you physically. He has not explained to you why he is withdrawn from you. To add insult to injury, he’s very interested in his porn, spending lots of time with that, and probably taking care of his physical desires in that manner. Understandably, you feel rejected and hurt, and the hurt is turning into poison anger. It nags at you that you don’t understand why he finds you so undesirable. You want this to work, but it’s broken and you’re very unhappy. In a committed monogamous relationship between young sexually interested people, it is all but impossible to separate out sexual intimacy from emotional intimacy. If one isn’t working, the other will break too. A renewal of open and honest communication will have to happen between you two if your relationship is to have a chance of surviving. You two have to become intimate again both sexually and emotionally to make it work. It is highly unlikely that you’ll last 20 years with him if this withdrawal continues. The best way to facilitate this sort of thing will be through joint marital therapy where you both go and talk to a therapist about your mutual relationship, and directly address this withdrawal, avoidance of sex, use of pornography, anger, feelings, etc. I hope that you and he can agree to go for this sort of counseling because as you say, there do seem to be some real strengths to your relationship. He does seem to have remained committed to you, at least out of a sense of duty.