Dear Carolyn: I’m engaged to the man of my dreams. He’s gorgeous, really brilliant, loves my family, and loves me unconditionally. I know you’re waiting for it, and here it is … HOWEVER, he is not intimate. He loves cuddling, snuggling and holding my hand, but he doesn’t ever get in the mood to have sex. When I ask him about it, he says he’s tired or not in the mood. He is taking antidepressants for his anxiety, but only recently.
This predicament has been going on for 2½ years; the first six months of our relationship were sex-filled and great.
I’ve tried many times to get him revved up, but he’s just not into it. It’s not like I’m unattractive, either! Before I met him, my favorite thing was making out. Now I never seem to make out with anything more than a quick peck from him. Even when we shower together he wants out as fast as possible. It’s like he doesn’t even see me.
We are on the same page when it comes to our opinions, money, likes/dislikes … literally we always are thinking the same thing. But when it comes to being intimate, it’s just not there. I want to marry him, but I don’t want to be that “once a year” kind of couple. Is it me? Help!
Carolyn says: It’s not you, it’s your fiancé — but if/when you marry him without resolving this, then it’s on you. Completely.
You feel bad, you have identified the source of the problem, and you have tried various solutions. 1-2-3. If you haven’t moved to 4 by plainly stating, “I can’t marry someone who doesn’t touch me the way I want to be touched,” then you’re doing yourself a life-size disservice. Him, too. No one (or, no one healthy, that is) wants a frustrated spouse.
So, if you’re having trouble forming the words in his presence, then try adopting this as your silent mantra: “He is the man of my nightmares.” I can’t speak for you, obviously, but to go through life alongside someone who is perpetually one gesture away from giving me everything I’ve always wanted, but who never actually makes that gesture, sounds like a nightmare to me.
Admit your unhappiness, then see how far he’s willing to go to address it. Your best future is the one you choose from there. Your choices: agony now, or torture as far as the eye can see.
Dear Carolyn: My best friend recently confided that he’s thinking of proposing to his girlfriend. They’ve only been dating about eight months and she is his first girlfriend. I’m a little worried here!
I seem to remember you saying that approximately two years should give somebody enough information about their partner to make a decision. I tend to agree, but my friend sees another whole year of dating as a “waste of time.” Any strategies for making the case to him to collect some more data?
Carolyn says: I’d rather make the case for your butting out. Maybe his proposal is premature, but maybe it isn’t — and, even if it is, it’s his mistake to make.
That said, the letter writer above makes a stellar first-person argument for waiting till novelty yields to familiarity — thus the “two years” advice.
E-mail Carolyn Hax at email@example.com, or chat with her at 11 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.