Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When Lovers Become Friends

I'm hoping that you can help with this. I respect your opinion and I'd love to know how you feel about this situation. It's like this. My lover and I have been together many years and are both in our forties. Our sex life pretty much died two or three years ago. This greatly distresses me, as I am a sexual person and am still attracted to my lover, and he says he's still attracted to me [but doesn't act like he means it.] He has put on quite a bit of weight and while I still love him and want to make love to him, I think he is very self-conscious. I am not drop-dead gorgeous by any means, but I still have no trouble attracting men. Frankly, I am horny as hell and would like to get it on with some of the guys who come on to me when I'm in a bar. I've told my lover that it's just sex, animal passion, that my having an encounter [safe sex ONLY] or a fuck buddy or something to take the edge off would not mean I love him any less, but he's adamant that true love means you remain monogamous. I'm too young to just give up on sex the way he has. I've told him that rather than lying to him and "cheating" on him and going behind his back, that if we can't have an open relationship I'd rather we just become friends; I don't want to hurt him. He says that breaking up with him would hurt him even more. It seems to me the only solution is that we remain friends but accept that we are no longer lovers. We could still be there for each other, as friends are, but no longer in a relationship that has been devoid of sex and passion for far too long. What do you think? Anon.

Here's what I think. I pretty much agree with you. If this guy loves you, I can't see why he can't make love to you. I appreciate the fact that he may have become self-conscious, but he should be happy that in spite of the weight gain he's got a.) a hot, attractive lover who is still rarin' to go and b.) a lover who wants to get it on with him. What's his problem?

It's true that many couples -- gay or straight -- become more friends and less lovers as the years go by, but if a couple can keep that flame of passion burning, they certainly should.

Your lover is going through a difficult time. He feels he's lost his attractiveness and is terrified of losing you -- who are still attracting men -- to someone else, maybe one of those potential one-night-stands or fuck buddies. If you break up, he can see you with someone else but he can't see himself with somebody else. You probably have no desire to have a new man in your life in the romantic sense (although a little romance or romantic fling probably wouldn't hurt) but because of his inferiority complex he just can't understand that.

It's situations like this that have always made me a believer in sensible open relationships [safe sex must always be a factor].

My advice is to work on his image problem. Get him to a bear bar where big guys are often openly admired. If that doesn't work, gently suggest that he get a little more exercise and watch what he eats. You may have to be pretty blunt with him. Tell him that you like him fine the way he is, but he obviously is self-conscious about his appearance and you want to help him feel better about himself. Tread carefully. He may be super-sensitive on the subject. Still, if he thinks he'll lose you ...

You must make it clear that it's not how he looks that's the problem, but that there is no sex in the relationship and sex is important to you. If his image problem is the reason he won't make love to you, it is something that you both have to address, and that he has to attend to if he wants the two of you to continue as a couple. This is also true if the problem is a low sex drive or something else. People who give up all sex are sometimes suffering from depression or other medical conditions; if necessary make sure he gets a complete check up.

Think long and hard about breaking up, however. If this relationship is important to you and if it's working in other regards, then you may not want to throw it away too quickly. It can be easy to have sex; but not so easy to land a compatible lifetime partner. While I can't heartily recommend this, it may be that you'll have to have some encounters on the sly just to keep your sexual sanity. Everyone has a right to have a sex life and don't dare feel guilty about it or Dr. Bill will come after you!

But I'm hoping your lover will understand what's at stake. Either he goes for an open relationship, he improves his image and therefore his sexual self-esteem, or he settles for friendship while you get laid and possibly move on.

Good luck.

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