Dear Bitter Single Guy: I have been seeing a guy for about 9 months now. I have known him for over 15 years and we have always been really good friends. At first I didn’t really notice that the sex was unusual with lots of starting and stopping, but then I came to realize that he suffers from premature ejaculation. Lately I have been pretty unhappy in the relationship (he seems emotionally distant) and I often think that maybe it is time to end it. I do wonder though if he might be distant because of his performance problems? He does ask for reassurance, which I always give him, but I’m just not sure if he totally believes me. I care about him a lot and I don’t want to lose him as a friend and I am not ending the relationship because of the premature ejaculation problem. I guess I’m really worried about him and I think that if I broke up with him he would think that it was because I was unhappy with our sex life. I know that we had a conversation about our first times (with other people) and he said his was a horrible experience and that he didn’t want to talk about it. That makes me sad and concerned that he may be getting rejected by women for the performance problem further adding to his anxiety? So do I give this relationship time and see if I can help him with this problem and hopefully build up his confidence and hopefully see the relationship improve as a result? Or do I end the unhappy relationship with the emotionally distant guy and hopefully get my friend back? Sometimes I think I will just keep going and let him decide when the relationship has run its course because I’d rather be unhappy then see him hurt in any way. This approach is killing me though because for the few times I am happy the other 90% of the time I am completely miserable.
I really would like to hear a man’s unbiased opinion on this problem. Thank you for your help. ~Martyrdom Is A Drag~
Dear MIAD: The Bitter Single Guy is glad for this guy, that folks like you exist to be miserable rather than causing him pain. Wait, no he’s not. You’re not keeping this guy from anything, the BSG thinks you’re actually just gritting your teeth and (you say this) hoping he’ll decide to dump YOU.
OK first MIAD, the BSG will tell you what he’s told others and some of his brethren will cringe that the BSG is telling this tale. Sexual performance is a “thing” for all men. Some men reading this are puffing up their chests and proclaiming “not me, dude! I can go all day!” But deep down, the BSG knows that guy watches Cialis commercials with dread for what his future may hold. Without going too deeply into the socio-cultural underpinnings, the BSG will just say that, at least in Western culture, the very essence of manhood (and therefore of value) is in penis-related activities. So your Premature Pal is probably embarrassed and stressed out over this issue…likely WAY more than you.
So is this a cause of his emotional distance? Sure, that’s likely. It’s also possible that he’s just emotionally distant, or that he’s also feeling like your relationship is coming to a close. So the BSG is going to split this into two questions:
1. Should you stay in a relationship where you are miserable 90% of the time? No.
2. How should you help your boyfriend with his premature ejaculation issue? As his trusted girlfriend, you have an opportunity to recommend that he get some help. SO doctor, a therapist, a support group…all of these are ways for your Premature Pal to get some medical help, some therapy, or at least tome techniques for how he can have a satisfying sex life. (where he doesnt have to ask for reassurance. That caught the BSG’s attention as your Premature Pal’s attempt to make this issue your responsibility. Sharing responsibility makes sense, but he BSG would look out for blaming…this doesn’t get to be a real problem if he gets to blame it on you. The BSG doesn’t have any information from you that this is true, but he wouldn’t be surprised.)
So the BSG’s advice is that you make recommendations to your boyfriend about how he can find some help and THEN have a conversation about emotional distance, where you describe examples for him (we dudes are a literal bunch, we like examples, not vague terms like “emotional distance”). With any luck he’ll turn it around and you’ll be happily ever after, but the BSG suspects that you’ll end up apart (since it sounds like you’re already there).
By the way, the BSG wishes he had good advice for converting this relationship back to a friendship, but crossing the bridge from friend to lover is much easier than crossing back, so it may be a few years before your friendship is back. ~BSG~