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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question

Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1142
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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My girlfriend and I have been together for almost a year. In

Customer Question

My girlfriend and I have been together for almost a year. In January we were out and I got way too drunk and said some mean things to her about wishing she wasn't around. I didn't mean it and it was difficult to get through but we did. I took full responsibility and slowly showed her how much she meant to me as we dealt with her dog passing away suddenly in February. She has said several times that she has forgiven me for what happened.

But here we are in early July and we haven't shared a bed or had sex or anything of the like since January. I didn't push the issue for a long time because I knew that I had messed up and I needed to let her work past that. But for about the past month we have talked about it a few times because it is really starting to get to me. She says she loves me so much and can't imagine breaking up but she just can't be intimate. She says she wants to be but every time the situation might arise she is reminded of what I said and can't do it.

I have tried everything, surprise flowers many times, love notes, dinners, even a surprise weekend away last month. In fact it was at the surprise weekend away that we first talked about this issue. She couldn't bring herself to do more than kiss me in a romantic cabin alone by the fire. I was positive that was the weekend we would finally get back to normal, finally be intimate again. It was pretty devastating to me that it didn't happen then and now several more weeks have gone by and zero progress.

How much longer can or should I wait? I love her as much as ever but I'm starting to lose faith that we can ever be in a completely fulfilling relationship again. If she would say to me "bear with me, I'll get there I'm just not there yet" I could handle that but she can't even say that. Am I asking too much to be farther along by now? If I need to give her more time so be it but I don't want to waste time with someone who will never come around. I am at a loss about what to do.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 2 years ago.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. You are clearly a good man in a good relationship--except that it's not good at its core. I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's really difficult and frustrating when your lover says she's forgiven you, but she really hasn't. At this point you have no reason to not believe her when she says that the only reason she doesn't want to have sex is because of what you said.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. There is a possibility here that she really still has a lingering belief that you don't really care about her. And thus, withholding sex is a way to see if you really do care about her or just want her for the sex. I know that's a bit weird because it's been six months already. But sometimes people can get themselves all twisted up in their thinking like that.

The problem here is that your question is a fair one: how long should you keep waiting. The answer really is that you shouldn't keep waiting. We don't know if the thought pattern I described above is what is going on or if there's some other thought pattern making her behave in this way.

But you've tried from what you describe enough really good ways to establish good faith that it now needs some professional intervention. The two of you need to go to couples counseling and find out what is really going on in her mind and heart. Because that she says she's forgiven you, yet holds this grudge is indicating something is not reconciled for her and she can't make it happen on her own or just between the two of you. So you need to get a professional involved.

I don't know if you're willing to. It sounds as though you love her and care for her. So, I would then recommend taking the step of going to couples therapy. But certainly just waiting longer does not seem as though it will change the dynamics that are going on now.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 years ago.
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