I just read your
article "Breaking Up", and I
found it to be very useful. It help me to understand a little of what I am
going through and how to go about ending the relationship.
My boyfriend and
I have been involved now for 4 yrs. Our problem is sex - he is not a very
affectionate person and believes you should not make love all the time. So we
only make love once every 3 to 5 months or more depending on our schedules. We
do not kiss much unless I ask, hold hands or make any physical contact. I
myself, am a very affectionate person and need to have that contact in order to
feel that he still loves me and wants to be with me. Now because of this I feel
very distant from him and tend to want to venture off with other men, to fill
the void that he does not satisfy. Should I break up our relationship and move
on? I tried talking to him about it, but he
thinks I am going thorough a phase and I will get over it soon, so he does not
listen to me or make any changes. Help! What should I do? Is their any way I
can get through to him? Or is it just not meant to be?
I'll let you in
on a little secret about men - some men lose interest in their partners
sexually. No, its true!
As I discuss in
my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", men have a biological
propensity to seek multiple sex partners. This way (as it is with any species
that produces few offspring), he insures that his genes are passed on to the
next generation. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, the infant
mortality rate was about 50%. So, to counter this low birth rate with a high
death rate, nature spent 1.6 billion years building the desire in men to have
multiple partners. By seeking multiple
partners, men help to insure that at least some of their offspring survive. For
reasons that don't deal with your question, very few women posses this same
Some men have
turned this "hunting instinct" into something else - the innate
desire to find multiple partners causes them to lose sexual interest in their
current partner. I hear this from many of my readers, so you're not alone.
Interestingly, this doesn't seem to have much to do with love - he probably
still loves you (in his way). Further, when you're apart for any length of
time, his interest in you probably grows tremendously.
I'll bet that
when you first started going out together, you and he we're banging it out just
about every night. Then, slowly this frequency began to drop, where now you're
having sex only about once every 3 to 5 months - and he is asking for less!
Its obvious from
your letter that you need the physical closeness. For many people physical
closeness is absolutely necessary for mental health! In my book, in the section
under "Communication" I discuss a number of communication types. From
your description, I'll bet you're a "physical sexual" and your
boyfriend is an "emotional sexual". Without going into all the
details, suffice it to say that, you use your physicalness - your body - to
protect your emotions, and you crave physical connection to support your
emotions. Your boyfriend does the opposite.
Ok, that's enough
science - so, what do you do?
First, you need
to recognize that you're not going "get over" your need for physical
expression. That's like saying that your dog is going to "get over"
the need to be furry! On the other hand you're probably not going to change him
to be more physical either.
You're going to
need to make a decision here. You really have three choices: 1) live with
things the way they are, realizing that his interest in sex and physical
closeness will continue to wane while yours doesn't; 2) split with him and find
another partner; or 3) stay with him and try again to discuss your needs, and,
if not met, satisfy them elsewhere.
living in situation #1, so I can't really give you any advice here. You've read
my article on breaking up, so you know
about this as well. Thus, I'll discuss the last option. If you choose this,
(and, it is wrought with problems!), let me offer some ideas:
You're going to
need to make a stand here. Find a time when you're not interrupting something
else - you want your boyfriend's full attention. Tell him that you're unhappy
with the sexual and physical part of your relationship with him. Tell him you
still love him, but feel compelled to satisfy your physical needs. Explain that
you're not going to "get over it". Then, be quiet and listen to, and
watch his reactions.
Is he committed
to making a difference? Is he
genuinely concerned about you and your needs? If so, does he actually make the
effort over the next few weeks and months? If things again begin to drop off,
is he willing to discuss it with you and try to deal with it? If not, and you
choose to venture outside your relationship here's what you need to do.
First - USE
PROTECTION!!! Don't assume that your new partner will handle this - you take
the lead. This is an absolute must - no excuses. It is your responsibility. Get
some condoms (hidden so that he will NOT find them!), and use them every time -
Second - don't
tell your boyfriend, or allow him find out about it! Let me explain this. Many
people use their straying as an excuse to inflict damage and hurt on their
non-conforming partner. Others feel guilt and try to relieve their own guilt by
"coming clean". In either case, the unknowing partner is always
damaged and the perpetrating partner is never cleansed. If you choose this
path, you have the absolute responsibility to protect your primary partner. You
may choose to stray because you love yourself, but protect him because you love
him. Don't cause further harm to someone else - if you choose this path, you
must also choose the responsibility it holds. You have much to consider here.
Notice, that in
the last paragraph, I haven't used the word "cheat". I purposely
avoid this word because I don't believe in it. I believe that there are
circumstances that affect every relationship beyond any outside person's
understanding of it. To judge a situation you're not directly involved with is
to assume you know everything about it and view it with an open mind - quite
arrogant. You (and your boyfriend) are the only ones capable of judging your
relationship - not me or anyone else. Our society preaches monogamy and curses
"outside adventures", but offers no acceptable alternative. Further,
it doesn't recognize the huge number of dynamics involved in every
relationship. By the way, men are not the only ones who venture outside of a
primary relationship. Women explore outside possibilities just as often as men,
but they do so for different reasons.
Even when we're
in a committed, monogamous relationship, we're still on our own. You can't own
or control another person in the long run, but you can control your own
happiness and health. In fact, it is your responsibility to do this. I wish
this happiness for you in whatever decision you make. Please let me know how
things turn out.
Copyright (c) 2005, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
All rights reserved.
For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit:
P.O. Box 10702
Glendale, CA 91209-3702
Fax (818) 246-5431
About the author
uthor of: Being a Man in a Woman's World
Dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of relationships.
Start having the relationships YOU deserve!
Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You
can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's
World", visit: www.remingtonpublications.com