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Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1368
Experience:  Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
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Hi. Ive been living with my partner since August, and its

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Hi. I've been living with my partner since August, and it's almost a perfect relationship. Holding it back are just 2 things I can see: a lack of trust and a lack of sex.

We were both in relationships when we met. Her boyfriend was abusing her, sometimes physically, and initially I was just a good friend helping her be strong enough to ditch him. I was actually engaged, but my fiancée had chosen to spend a year working in Hong Kong away from me and wanted me to leave everything to go and be with her. While she was still in Hong Kong, a night consoling my friend turned into a sexual affair. Soon after that we both ended our relationships, but we also took a 4-month break from each other - if we were genuinely attracted, we thought, we'd still want each other after a few months apart.

Well, we did - and in fact our relationship bludgeoned fast. We had our "first date" in April, and she asked me to move in with her by July. She installed a cat flap in her door for my cat, too, though she preferred to call herself a dog person. Everything was great - we had oodles of quality time together, playing board games, sharing films, going out with each other's friends, learning about each other.

In the course of all this, she told me about her huge amount of sexual partners (more than 10, whereas she was only my 4th), and how she feels ashamed of that aspect of her past. She also taught me how much of a stickler she is for cleanliness. In return, I told her how I used to be a pathological liar, and how my high but oft unrequited sex drive has often caused me trouble in relationships.

Towards the end of last year, things got very stressful. We were both very busy at work and in our social lives, and finding quality time was getting hard. She started picking me up on untidy habits I didn't even know I had, and - worse for me - started believing my cat had a grudge against her. When I bought a cat training book specifically to help with the latter issue, she refused to read it. Sex was less frequent, and - when it did happen - I would struggle to ejaculate, usually because it was too late at night and I was aroused but tired and stressed. One night I had a non-ejaculatory orgasm, and felt wonderful - but, because nothing had "come", she didn't believe me, and got angry at me for apparently lying.

That was the start of it - the accusations of lying. I have never lied to her, and - if I'm ever wrong about something - I'm usually very quick to say. Lying is complete anaesthma to me, since I kicked my compulsive habit back in 2003 when it put me in serious danger of losing my place in college and everything else I held dear. So it's actually hard for me to even tell white lies now. But my partner started to behave as if I still had this condition, and began accusing me of lies that I couldn't actually disprove.

For example, she would make a mistake on her computer and, in an attempt to console her, I would say, "Don't worry, you'll be quicker at it next time." Probably because she was already frustrated, she would see this comment as a malicious poke. But if I tried to explain my actual reason for the comment, she would brand me a liar. Eventually it would calm down and we'd have said our sorries, forgiven each other, and be back to normal. But these sorts of events began to coagulate.

Meanwhile, my high sex drive wasn't getting fulfilled. I've even begun masturbating in secret, because she frowns on auto eroticism - even when done mutually - and has told me in all seriousness that, if she ever caught me watching porn, I'd be out. Sex now only happens every so often, and usually late at night - and always initiated by her. It means we usually start tired, end even more tired, and wake up the following day rather grumpy. Usually to go to work.

After all the stress of Christmas, things did calm down a lot. We had a big chat, in which we both reassured each other of our feelings, our attractions and desires for each other, and we agreed much of our recent arguing had been due to a packed social calendar. However, my cat is still on "holiday" with my father, and if I try to initiate sex during the day or early on an evening, I don't seem to get any reaction. The sex we have is pretty much always initiated by her, but there hasn't been more than twice this year so far. Both were late at night, and both were in the first fortnight of 2013.

We are very much in love. Even now, all of our friends and family regularly comment upon how good we seem to be for each other, and the support we get is immense. Our quality time is tender and fun in equal measure, we support each other in tough times, and we have both initiated conversations towards marriage. She doesn't know, but I've actually got a down payment on a ring.

But I worry that she's not satisfying me sexually, and is clearly having trouble trusting me. Sorry for the long Q, but... can you help?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 1 year ago.
Hello. While all of this seems quite stressful for you, I do see a lot of good here. I think with some minor changes, you can have a wonderful relationship. A lot of what you describe is quite typical in many relationships and as long as both of you continue to talk to each other, the communication you are able to have should be able to fix these issues. Being able to talk to each other is a very important aspect of your relationship and I'm glad that you both feel comfortable doing so. I urge you to continue doing this and find a way to be able to bring up the exact concerns you have brought up in your question here.
As far as the sex part of your relationship goes, have you both discussed this in any level of detail? Other than the number of sexual partners? While sometimes uncomfortable and awkward to talk about, finding out basic things such as what turns her on would be a great start. As I'm sure you are aware, women and men are very different on many levels when it comes to sex, as men are more visual and women more physical and mental. What is it about you which made her physically attracted to you to begin with? What kind of things does she like to do in bed? You are going to have to unlock these answers to bring the romance back into your relationship. Sex is an important part of any partnership and you should have a healthy sex life if you plan on moving forward into higher levels with her.
A couple of things you mentioned makes me think that she is holding on to some negative things in her life. You said she feels bad about having so many sexual partners, she doesn't take constructive criticism well, she thinks your cat doesn't like her, she accuses you of lying all the time and that counseling is for the 'sick'. All of these things tell me that she has some guilt or self esteem issues on some level. She is uncomfortable about some aspect of herself. It's hard to say what exactly that may be, as it can be quite a complex situation and we all learn and take experiences from our past. Everyone does different things with these lessons. You said her ex used to abuse her, so she comes from a bit of a sorted past as it is. These things are effecting her. She may not see it, you may not realize what it is, but she needs to learn to let go of whatever is holding her to her past.
You can handle this in a number of ways, and you know her very well, so you have to decide how to proceed. When both of you talk to each other, try asking her some things from the point of view where she won't feel pressured or cornered. Ask her why she isn't interested in sex with you. Ask her what you can do in order to get her to want to have sex with you. If you put your concerns in this package, you are not saying to her that she is causing these problems, you are asking how you can remedy the situation. This shows her you are aware there is an issue and you open yourself up to a solution.
My botXXXXX XXXXXne advice would be to keep talking to her and communicating on the level you seem to be already comfortable doing when it comes to talking though your relationship. What you want to do is change your approach to some of the discussion in order to get answers you want to the problems which are happening here. You really want to take the time and effort to work on these things before you think about marriage, as the problems will only escalate. You can't ignore the sex issue and spend the rest of your life masturbating, wondering why she isn't interested !!
Keep being romantic, even if it results in "we need to talk". Be spontaneous with things that you know she likes. Remember that women are a lot different from men in a lot of ways. If something upsets her, she is more likely to sit on it and wait for you to figure it out than to tell you straight away. Women are very internal and expect men to "get it" without having to say anything. Be keen to these cues.
I am hoping that she will open up to you a little more and you can both chip away at these little imperfections.
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1368
Experience: Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Paige and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX have a couple of questions. First, how is best to start this kind of conversation? I have tried to ask about the sex-lack issue over dinner before, and the moment I said, "Oh by the way, there's something I've been wanting to ask you...", her reply was "Uh-oh..." When, where and how do I initiate the dialogue you suggest without arousing her suspicions and fears from the off?

Once I have... is there a way I can come back to you to let you know how it went, and ask any follow-up questions?
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 1 year ago.
Hello. Initiating is always the scary part! You should not be fearful to express your feelings because this is the person you may want to marry and spend the rest of your life with. You have to think of your choices here. Keep going on like this or biting the bullet and having the talk? It doesn't have to be a big time, serious life changing event. As I said, it is difficult to give very specific advice on this particular matter because everyone is an individual and reacts differently to different methods. You know her well and you have to think very carefully about this and how to best bring it up to her. It could be that you are discussing something else and it gradually comes up.
Her reaction to things that you need to know about should not be reason for you to not bring them up. Think of the alternatives. Better to be out with it than to keep things in, it will only make matters worse.
Yes, of course you can ask follow up questions. I encourage you to keep in touch with me and see how things are going. I am here to help you !
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well, step one has just resulted in a calamitous fail.

She returned home late tonight, having had a rough day at work, but a de-stress at a tanning booth on the way home. That gave me extra time to tidy and clean the house, and myself. When she got home, she was bouncy and relaxed. She had a shower, and then we started making dinner together. At one point she was able to joke about me being silly ('cause I'd lost the cling film), and I used this as my lever into the "Why did you start going out with me?" conversation.

It started well, with her telling me I was "fun" and "hot". When I suggested that we could be spontaneous this evening, she replied that she was too tired - and certainly her bounciness vanished. As caringly as possible, I told her all I wanted to do was take her mind off work.

"How?" she asked.

"Maybe with sexy fun times?" I suggested cheekily.

All trace of fun left her face. "No," she said simply.

Returning to the caring tone, I asked, "Or maybe we can talk about why sexy fun times haven't been happening so much lately?"

She suddenly stood up. "Or maybe I can just go out."

The next thing I know, she's out of her PJs, into her casuals, grabbing her boots and out the door - even though dinner's still cooking in the oven. I have no idea where she's gone; she wouldn't say. Neither have I any idea how long she'll be out for.

All I can pray is that you're online soon so that you can advise me how to handle this muck-up when she gets back...

Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for replying so quickly. She has just returned with some shopping, and told me she wants to put it away herself. So I shall let things calm down a little, and take a "break" as you suggest – at least until she comes to say sorry.


 


Don't expect that to be any time soon, though. She's just chided me for not eating, and when I said, "I was waiting for you," she just said "You didn't need to." I replied with, "We're still having dinner, right?" and she despondently said "Maybe" as she walked away upstairs.


 


But no, she's on no birth control whatsoever. We always use condoms. I also know her most recent period finished over the weekend.

Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Well, we've had more of a chat, and it's still not resolved. It began with her telling me how I had frustrated her, and reminding me of how stressed she's been lately. She also accused me of lying again, saying my words had been inherently contraditory (she believes me to have said "I thought we could be spontaneous this evening"), suggesting I'd planned for sex. When I began to explain that my thought to initiate sex HAD been spontaneous - brought about by how gorgeous & bouncy she looked - and that all I'd actually wanted out of this evening was a chat, she scoffed at me distrustfully. Then she started saying, "Anither one?"


 


 


She was referring to a recent mealtime chat when I had tried to initiate a talk about a similar subject. Then she had just said she doesn't have time to feel in the moo. So I tried to explain that the talk I want to have isn't so much about the frequency - it's about the quality of the time we spend together immediately after making love, which hasn't happened recently because it's been so late at night (always initiated by her - in fact the last time was at something like 2am, when I had to leave for work at 6am). To this she just said, "Well maybe I'm not the one for you."


 


 


There was no reasoning with her. She thought I clearly wanted someone like my ex (who she knows had an insatiable sex drive). I wanted to say, "No - YOU are what I want. I just want you to compromise at least as much as I do for you." But I stopped myself from saying that because of your advice against saying anything that might cause her to feel it's all her fault. So I got up and left her to herself downstairs.


 


I hate having walked away from her, because I know that's what her ex did to her so many times. But I couldn't see the conversation leading us anywhere. What do I do?


 


Ever had one of these Q&A chats in real-time before?!

Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well, this one got cut off because we went to bed. Just before we did, I sent her a Facebook message - a method if communication I know she can't interrupt - to say how much I love her and appreciate all she does to show she loves me, but I just want a bit more communication in our relationship. As in, fewer TV dinners, sex at earlier times (or at least not when we're up early the next day), chances for me to choose when we talk about something "deep", etc. I also admitted that I felt much less than manly saying all this, and that it would probably be easier if the problem was as simple as me wanting sex all the time like "any other man".

I don't know if she's read it yet, or even seen it. She came to bed and barely spoke to me. When I said "I love you" as the lights went out, she just went "Hm".

Same this morning. She spoke to me only to ask if I'd seen a particular item of clothing, and "Bye". I told her I loved her again as she left, and got another "Hmm". She's coming home early today because we have a date at a theatre in London, which she paid for and was really excited about. I don't know how this evening's going to pan out.

Have I been ignorant here? I've known we've both been stressed lately, and she copes with it less well than me. I thought enough time had passed, and enough relaxation was being had, for us to be able to start enjoying being open and vulnerable with each other again. But maybe I've just been selfish and over-randy, and should have left it another couple of months?

If she doesn't kick me out before the end of this month, maybe I should just let us have a few months of weekends doing absolutely nothing but staying at home until I make another move...?
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 1 year ago.
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