Dear Bitter Single Guy: Ugh–where do I begin? I desperately need advice! I’ve been dating my IT Engineer boyfriend for about 10 months now and we hit it off so well in the beginning. We’ve been through a lot as a couple (my parents divorce after 27 yrs of marriage, my mom re-marrying super fast, his friend dying from cancer, his issues with me drinking, etc) and over the last two months–our relationship has flopped. He stopped wanting sex about 4 months into the relationship, I’ve tried to pursue it in every way (seducing, dirty movies, dirty talking, toys, etc) and he simply explains it as ‘just who he is’ He claims he wasn’t very intimate with his ex-wife either and that he’s simply not that type of man. He also says work is incredibly stressful but he ‘refuses to bring it home’ Any time I try to talk to him about the issue he gets 100% defensive and asks how I think he feels on the issue. He refuses to go to the doctor, for us to go talk to a counselor, etc. I feel rejected every day by him and on top of that–it’s hurtful to have your partner not want to touch you or be intimate with you. I’m a solid communicator, as many women are, and I have expressed several times that although I know he is not an affectionate person–I am the other person in the relationship and I need more affection than he’s giving. He also does not like if I drink (glass of wine with dinner at home, etc) and tries to make it out to be some alcoholic problem (I’m 22 and I drink maybe once a month). I was informed that his ex-wife used to go out without him and get wasted. Also–he has no problem going fishing at 4:30am every weekend with his boss and doing other classic ‘man’ things, but he can’t plan things with me.
Two months ago he told family members he was planning on proposing–now he’s ‘just not ready’ and ‘changed his mind’. So here are my questions:
1. Does his lack of sex drive have anything to do with me and how can I get it back without feeling rejected always?
2. Is he punishing me for things his ex-wife did to him (the drinking issue) and how do I go about handling that situation without just putting him on the defense?
3. Why did we suddenly have a huge change in the last 2 months and why did he change his mind on marrying me suddenly? He told me a while back I “pushed him away’ when he tried to get close and after that it’s ruined things. Could that be true?
4. Is this relationship worth keeping if there is no affection in it whatsoever and he is clearly showing he isn’t sure what he wants anymore?
Please advise. I need to know if it’s just over and I should just walk away. Thanks.
~Nowhere Else to Turn~
Dear NET: The Bitter Single Guy feels your pain and appreciates your ability to provide great context, but also to summarize your concerns in a handy numbered list. Here’s the BSG’s response:
- Does his lack of sex drive have anything to do with me and how can I get it back without feeling rejected always? Of course it’s possible that his lack of sex drive has something to do with you…sexual attraction is chemical and psychological and generally inexplicable and his lack of sex drive could definitely be related to a lack of sexual attraction to you. However, there is nothing you can do about it (given what you say you’ve already done to spice things up). Mr. LackLuster will need to work on this himself. The BSG will say that you definitely don’t have to settle for an intimacy-free relationship unless that’s what you want (in which case, the BSG recommends a cat).
- Is he punishing me for things his ex-wife did to him (the drinking issue) and how do I go about handling that situation without just putting him on the defense? Of course he’s punishing you for things his ex-wife did. We are all constantly punishing our current dates for the failures of our previous dates, except maybe for truly enlightened souls like the Dalai Lama (does he date?). The BSG is of the belief that if we believe ourselves treated badly in a relationship, the most common way to exorcise that demon is to similarly treat someone else badly. Not very enlightened, but pretty common. Mr. LackLuster has a right to require a dedicated non-drinker, but you also have the right to be a lush if you want (the BSG sees that you report light lush-age at best, he only says it this way to illustrate his point).
- Why did we suddenly have a huge change in the last 2 months and why did he change his mind on marrying me suddenly? He told me a while back I “pushed him away’ when he tried to get close and after that it’s ruined things. Could that be true? Of course it could be true that he believes he pushed you away and that’s ruined things for him. It could also be true that if he blames you for the downfall of your relationship, then he doesn’t have to hold himself accountable. The BSG believes the truth is likely somewhere in the middle and that you and Mr. LackLuster both have responsibility for the fade-out of your relationship.
- Is this relationship worth keeping if there is no affection in it whatsoever and he is clearly showing he isn’t sure what he wants anymore? In a word: No. Get out, NET. It doesn’t seem like Mr. LackLuster is interested in going forward and doesn’t seem like he’s willing to take the appropriate next step to cut the cord…so it’s up to you.