My boyfriend of nine years is thoughtful, caring, kind. I love him. We’re both late-20s.
For several months, I’ve lost all romantic interest in him. And I have zero inclination for sex.
When he touches me, or we have sex, my nerves are on edge; everything he does irritates me. I’d be happy if he never touched me again.
I don't want to lose my best friend but we shouldn't live this like either.
Is this a natural phase for people who’ve been in a long relationship?
Should I end it?
This is not natural without a recognized cause. Instead of giving up on someone who still matters to you, get pro-active to discover potential reasons for the change.
See your doctor for an overall health check, and ask specifically if there’s a chance of an unusual early-onset menopause for some reason (this does happen sometimes).
Also, if you’re on birth control or any other medications, or recently added or switched medications, you should be checked for their effect on libido.
Next, consider what’s going on in your life. Have there been family rifts, illness, or loss? Has your work life had a change or disappointment? Is someone else attracting you?
Also, was there some trauma, such as sexual abuse or other negative occurrences in your past, that’s re-surfaced? Some of these questions are best probed in counselling to discover why the change in your attitude and responses.
Meanwhile, tell your boyfriend what you’re experiencing, reassure him that it’s not something he’s done, and that you’re making an effort to discover the cause, for both your sakes.
My daughter, 23, graduated University last year, and is unemployed. She met a man, 50, who retired due to disability. He’s very short, slim, and ugly. After I saw him, my body shakes and I can’t sleep.
My daughter moved out because I fought with her to end the relationship. How can I save her?
Fighting drove her away. Your attitude to his looks didn’t help.
Her choice of someone so much older suggests that she wanted escape and support, and he happened along.
It’s often hard to get hired right after graduating, and that’s depressing to many. She needed a confidence booster, and he likely supplied it.
Back off your criticisms. Contact her and try to re-connect without bad-mouthing him.
Hopefully, she’ll welcome your support. When she gets a job, her spirits will lift, and she may reconsider whether he’s right for her.
FEEDBACK Regarding the alcoholic adult son (Jan. 24):
Reader – “My eldest son, 24, is an alcoholic with addiction issues. He’s currently in treatment after bottoming out badly.
“Through various family support groups, I’ve learned that addiction, and alcoholism in particular, is truly a family disease.
“It’s chronic and progressive, but doesn’t mean that your person’s bad; rather, he/she is ill.
“Take care of yourself, so that you’re capable of supporting the addicted person.
“And set boundaries of your own.
“Through discussion, therapy, and hard work, I’m working through the co-dependent and enabling behaviours that I’d unconsciously adopted.
“I’m attempting to arrive at healthier detachment. This doesn’t mean abandoning the ill family member.
“It’s a recognition that we have the ability and obligation to set limits so we’re able to separate ourselves from the problem, while still loving the person.
“Recognize that you didn’t cause the problem, nor can you cure it. You cannot control others’ behaviour.”
My fiancé and I informed our families of the wedding date.
My brother called, asking if his daughter could be the flower girl. He then asked if his family’s meal and drinks would be paid for. I was shocked!
I said it's going to be a very small, intimate ceremony with just immediate family - no bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.
He and I have never been close.
So I was surprised by his boldness. I feel his inquires are selfish, presumptuous, and rude!
Am I over-reacting? My plan is to not say anything, as we don't often talk.
If he asks again about his daughter, what should I say?
Your answer was reasonable, but your shock somewhat over the top. Yes, he was self-interested about his daughter, and the costs of attending, but not unusual, if he’s got limited finances.
Call back. Say you appreciate his enthusiasm and hope he and his family will attend. Explain whether there’s a reception with a meal or nibbles, and let him decide.
Tip of the day:
Check with a doctor about changes in libido.