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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 616
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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I cant connect to my partner

Customer Question

I can't connect to my partner, technically we are on a break but still have sex. I am the only person she has had sex with and everytime we try to have sex I get so nervous and can't let myself relax. I'm afriad on not being able to please her, afraid of rejection. We have been through alot together and it's been 2 years together. What should I do? I want to please her and make her feel good.. however I feel like my nervousness and anxiety gets in the way.
Background about us: Lesbian couple..We have emotional intimacy issues, like I said we have been through alot together and she has felt throughout the relationship that I didn't care for her as much as she cares for me. Now we are technically not together but still talk every day and she really wants to see if I can show her my love(physically, emotionally, verbally) regardless of how much she reciprocates. I really want to show her I care in every way possible. Throughout the relationship I was very selfish at times, and this was my first real relationship. I came from a broken home so love was never something that was easy to show or to reciprocate. Her, on the other hand came from a good home and I was her first everything and our sex life was never something that pleased her.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hi there,

I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help you today.

It's obvious that you both care very much for each other - and to be honest with you, everyone should care so much about pleasing their partners the way that you do. But it seems that you're caring so much about pleasing her that it's actually having the opposite of your desired effect. I hear you when you're saying that you've been through a lot together and that you've both been dealing with emotional intimacy issues. But right now, it seems that you're so worried about losing her that you become so nervous and anxious that you can't let your guard down and just "be" with her. And so it's often the case that we unconsciously bring about that which we fear the most because we focus so much on the things we fear! So I think part of the solution is learning to let go, learning to let things be and trying to focus on the positives instead of the negatives (i.e. the fear of failure.) From what you've said, you obviously didn't have a lot of good role models for learning about the expression of intimacy and love, but to me, it sounds like you're more in touch with how to do that than you think.

You've been together for a relatively long period of time, so I am wondering if you'd feel comfortable broaching the idea of couples counseling with her. It seems that you have a really solid fundamental basis for your relationship, but you're just having some difficulty getting around some of the external issues (maybe issues from your past that are re-surfacing because of your feeling unable to show love, etc). I think couples counseling could help you both learn to be more intimate with each other - emotionally and physically.

The other point to consider is trying to just "be". I don't know if you are familiar with the concept of mindfulness, but it's the idea of trying not to attach to your thoughts and just be in the moment. It's a hard concept for most people, even though it sounds pretty simple. But you're not able to enjoy being with her because you're too much in your head - you're having a hard time letting go of the feelings of anxiety and performance pressure and just being in your body. If you can try to find some way of dealing with the anxiety and putting it out of your mind beforehand -and just show her that you love her and care about her through your actions and not worry so much about what happens (because worrying about the outcome is actually killing outcome), then I think you can overcome this issue together. You might find this article helpful:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-pleasures-sex/200912/be-here-in-bed-now-how-mindfulness-makes-yummy-sex

I would also suggest that you try not to kill things by over-analyzing them or talking them to death. I know sometimes we women get stress relief from talking about our problems and relationship issues, but that can also go overboard and result in more issues, rather than less. I'd say that you should try to do something fun together, something that doesn't focus on sex so much and instead focuses on just being together, letting down your guards and enjoying each other's company, then seeing what comes of that, instead of starting at the end and working your way backwards, if you know what I mean. Try to focus on the reasons you want to be together, the things you like about each other - when you talk, because you say you talk every day, don't talk about your problems. Try to lighten things up a bit - because too much heaviness can also kill the mood and kill intimacy.

You might also want to try engaging in some stress and anxiety management techniques (like yoga, meditation, running, exercise, listening to guided visualization programs- whatever it is that helps you let go of stress and tension and helps you relax.)

I hope this helps. If you'd like to try to find a couples counselor in your area, you can use this website:
http://www.goodtherapy.org/

I wish you luck. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am not satisfied with my answer because I wanted an analysis from a therapist not physcotherapist.
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
I am a therapist - perhaps you were confused and thought it said "physical therapist" - but a "psychotherapist" is someone who provides psychological counseling and support.

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