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Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1427
Experience:  Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
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I have a problem with my boyfriend. It is has been very on

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I have a problem with my boyfriend. It is has been very on and off and I'm about to go visit him overseas. He is incredibly attention, communicative, loves me dearly and is very focused on pleasing me. There is one huge problem, which has been the silent killer of our relationship (and the real reason we - I - ended things, but I picked fights because I didn't know how to broach i).

The problem is that, although he believes himself to be very masculine, he has many feminine mannerisms. He pouts, has delicate hand movements and when he's talking about sex gets a very raspy (feminine) voice. I find this a huge turn off and causes me a huge amount of anxiety. Because although the sex is good, it completely diminishes my attraction for him.

I have been with men who have been abusive before and treated me appallingly. This man is a good, great man and I believe if I could find some way to get past this we could have an amazing relationship, but I don't know how to get past it. We communicate a lot through writing and I was wondering if it would be a good, or bad, idea to mention something to him. This may or may not have been the cause of problems in his previous relationships (he's in his 40's) but neither do I want to hurt his feelings, because obviously I care deeply for him.

This is hanging over my head and I need to find a way to deal with it, or communicate it with him before I leave in two weeks.

Please, I'd be grateful for any advice you could give me.
Hello. Your thinking on this is completely correct in that you are weighing the situation and you know that priorities and the way you are treated is of higher importance, but you still need to address this issue. First, think about his point of view. This is who he is and attempting to change these things about him would be difficult if not, impossible. Think about all aspects of this situation. What if it was you who had certain mannerisms that he didn't like, how would you want him to approach you about it or would you?
I would also ask you what kind of relationship you have when you are face to face. Can you joke around and have light conversations? If you can, this changes the dynamic as well because you could be in a situation where you are just hanging out and he does something feminine and you are able to bring it up in a way where it's also in a light and joking manner to see how he takes it. This would be a good way to gage how sensitive he is about you mentioning something, even in a joking way.
The part with the raspy feminine voice during sex would be something I would consider mentioning to him more than the other specific things that you said bother you. I would think that might be the most "serious"? of all of this. I can see how that would be a major turn off and is worth saying something. When bringing up something negative , always start with something very positive. Tell him how much you love him and how comfortable you feel about him, BUT there is one thing that is concerning to you that you want to discuss with him and go from there. I would not bombard him with all of these issues you have with him, start with what you feel is the most important thing and test the waters to see how he responds to one thing and adjust your approach based on that.
How long have you known him? You did not mention this. You know him better than I do, so its hard to give you very specific advice on the details, but hopefully that can give you a start to think about your approach.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your answer.


I'm not sure if the raspy voice is the thing that bothers me the most, it's the combination as he does the 'pouty' look during sex also. He's a very hands on manly man in the things that he does (building, fixing trucks), and so I really don't think he sees any of these characteristics in himself. I think he views himself as being very masculine.


His father was, from everything I can gather, a narcissistic brute (though he defends him) and his mother was the predominant figure in his life, he's also an only child so I suppose he never had the banter of brothers and sisters (my brother would tell me when I was doing something 'weird' and I likewise to him). He also went to a progressive boarding school from 14. I know he's had all of his girlfriends cheat on him, and I can't help but wonder if this was part of the cause, (though there is no excuse for cheating).


As for being able to joke with him... it's difficult. He's very sensitive and tends to get on the offensive if something is said that is negative. I tried to mention once, while joking, the 'pouty' look and I don't recall it going down very well. He's a very serious man, I'm less serious and make fun of myself a lot.


I met him through the Internet, so we have been prolific in writing (long) emails and we have so far only spent 2-3 weeks in person. He believes I have troubles with intimacy as I would find myself avoiding intimate occasions (flinching internally) simply because of these feminine attributes.


I don't want to be superficial but it takes a lot of confidence, I think, to be able to take these things and not let them affect my desire for him (or his inner beauty). I want to be strong enough to deal with them, but I'm struggling. I've tried fantasizing scenarios with him but I just find that I keep coming back to this particular issue and struggling.


I like the idea of saying something in passing while we're relaxing together but I get so tongue tied and scared of hurting him that I hold it in and then I wind up snapping at something else.


I really appreciate your help. I've never had this problem before and I've been trailing the Internet for advice. It would actually be wonderful if there was a blog out there on this issue!

There is nothing wrong with having issues with what you are experiencing and while you are putting forth the effort to deal with them, if something bothers you, it bothers you.
It makes it tough that he is so sensitive about simple issues and I see your difficult position. It comes down to how important it is to you and balancing the good with the bad. He seems to have no problem mentioning to you that you have intimacy issues, so why can't you bring up the same type things with him? If you both feel comfortable writing to each other, perhaps having a discussion on the subject of "if you could change something about me, what would it be?" It would be a tough and sensitive discussion and you would have to not turn it into a complaining session about each other, more so of a normal relationship type banter. Again, it's hard for me to offer very specific advice as you do know him and how to navigate through some of the little things. If you feel strongly about him and want to make it work, you will find a way to balance your concerns with what you are able to deal with. If the raspy voice thing isn't the most annoying, find what IS and start with that one thing. Take up your concerns one thing at a time.
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