I’m in a same-sex relationship and my girlfriend has a low sex drive. It’s been ongoing throughout this first year of our living together.
When we lived apart, she seemed more interested. But it seems like my moving in and migrating from my life in another city, has complicated everything.
Initially, she said that stress at work was affecting her libido; now it's stress from our fights.
I, too, lost patience long ago and don't know how to raise the subject again without adding to the fights.
Being patient and waiting has lowered my self-esteem and made me feel awkward whenever I show intimacy.
I know I need to step forward, but I’m wounded and lost.
I feel that she needs time and space.
But I can't provide that anymore, so I escape into my personal universe regarding sexuality, projecting myself in an imaginary world.
Hiding Inside Myself
Escape just adds to the growing chasm between you two. She needs time and space, and you need respect for having made major life changes.
Discuss how you can take a break. It may mean both of you sharing the cost for you to live elsewhere, perhaps for a couple of months.
Then get couple’s counselling together to probe what are the main issues dividing you.
Moving together always takes adjustments. But withdrawing sexually and emotionally doesn’t address the problems.
You both need to think this through and decide if you can re-connect long-term, or not.
I worked with a colleague for five years as his junior partner; he’d graduated in our field eight years before I did, and had set up his business, which I joined.
After several years, I had as many clients as he had, and I’d also bought into the business as a full partner.
We both married around the same time, two years ago.
Ever since, he’s distanced himself and his wife socially from my wife and me. At first it felt hurtful since we’d been happy to go out with them. Also, my wife loves to entertain at home and would invite them reasonably often.
But they never reciprocated. My wife’s a professional; his wife gave up her job when she married.
Now, he and I work as two different entities even though we’re equal partners. Some colleagues and clients tell me that he lets people know that he started the business, as if he’s still senior to me.
It’s possible for me to set up separately as our contract has a procedure for doing that.
But before I take that big step, should I ask him if I’ve offended him in some way? My wife thinks it’s too demeaning, like begging him.
It’s worthwhile trying to clear the air before taking a major step away from the same firm.
Raising a discussion is not to beg for anything, but to avoid hard feelings on parting, and squelch speculation and gossip within your field.
The social distancing may stem from an attitude on his wife’s part. Or, your reaching his same level of clients may have upset him. In either case, he’ll be unlikely to be specific.
So asking in a general way if there’s anything you can do to make the partnership go smoother is a neutral start to the conversation.
Be clear that, if it’s best for you both to go separate ways, you’re prepared to do so for both your sakes.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who’s annoyed that her husband’s “grumpy” about her texts to him at work (June 19):
Reader – “I consider the writer self-absorbed and immature.
“Tell her that he might just be trying to do his job while she "stays in touch" all day.
“Also tell her, that maybe if he doesn't do his job because of her silly interruptions he could get fired! Then she will have lots of time to text him.
“She stated "I text him regularly during my workday.” I’m assuming that she’s working outside the home, particularly since she says, "I don't know if I'll come home to Mr. Grumpy."
“Therefore she’s cheating her own employer since she is using employment time for personal use. Somebody should point that out to her as well.
“At some point she may grow up.”
Ellie – This was just one of many readers’ feedbacks, venting their attitude to constant use of texting in the workplace.
Tip of the day:
Withdrawing from intimacy doesn’t resolve problems; it just adds new layers of them.