Note: This question is exceptionally long so I’ve divided it into segments and highlighted key themes I want to talk about. I think all parts of it are important so I didn’t want to leave anything out. I think the questions asked in this post are representative of most of the questions I hear when it comes to relationships and having a healthy sexual discourse within a long term relationship. Read on, and let me know if you would have anything to add.
Trust issues: Your Partners Friends
I’m in an LTR of 3+ yrs. but I have severe trust issues. I am very sensitive about the women my boyfriend interacts with at work, school, etc. -mainly there’s this stupid thing when I meet one of them. Most of the time, they ignore me and engage only with him even when he and I had been talking or it’s clear that we are together. I can be standing there, holding his hand, smiling at directing my attention at her and the woman won’t acknowledge me. I’ve attended the birthday party of a particular female coworker and invited her out to a couple events before but she still seems to ignore me when my boyfriend is present and only greets him. I feel like this is a huge snub and like they are all, in a way, asserting dominance over me. It’s almost a constant experience when a new woman is introduced and I don’t know why this happens. Once it does, however, that’s it – I am infuriated and I don’t want him to have anything to do with them. So that’s one issue.
As a woman who often does this, here’s one possible explanation. They’re aware that you feel that distrust towards them, and it’s off-putting. When I engage with male friends of mine while their female partners are present it’s difficult to include them in the conversation. 1) Often times I just feel more comfortable talking briefly to my male friend and then moving on 2) The body language of the female S/O can at times be predatory. “Why are you talking to my boyfriend?” 3) I am socially awkward at times and introducing yourself can feel messy. One person needs to be the one who takes that move and says “Hi! I’m so and so!” If you’re bad at this like me, give it a shot, and work it in. It does get easier with time. My advice would be to put effort into getting to know your boyfriends female friends. Start your own dialogue with them and create some common ground. “Want to get a drink sometime and chat? I think we have a lot in common!” Be open to the possibility that they aren’t purposefully being rude and that they’re nice people that you too can befriend. Thinking positivity about it will go a long way. You could also encourage your partner to help introduce you when you’re with new people to help include you in the group conversation.
Another is that I am a very private and greedy person when it comes to my boyfriend and sex. I love sex and I like a lot of it. I like being made to feel dirty and sexual and I try to make him feel that way and make him feel like I am super attracted to and aroused by him. Most of the time his response feels hum drum and awkward, and I don’t feel like he makes much effort to make me feel wanted unless it’s the day he wants to have sex that week, haha. I can wear things that make me feel sexy and go out of my way to touch him, etc. but I feel like it rarely gets noticed. To my knowledge, I’m more adventurous than him. (I’ve tried to have conversations about it but he’s never been huge on talking about things and maintains that he’s completely vanilla – which seems to be true, he never starts anything different and my mild requests to be handcuffed or held down or whatever might be granted once after I’ve asked, but in the most halfhearted and short-lived way that I can’t even enjoy those rare occasions fully.) My sex drive seems to be typically higher than his, too. I used to initiate frequently but stopped almost entirely a couple months ago at a point where sex seemed really run of the mill and like he wasn’t actually interested in it. Around the same time he admitted that he didn’t want sex as much, and I felt awkward trying to get someone who didn’t want to have sex with me to do it so, I quit. Now we have sex twice a week tops, which might sound normal for some people but isn’t enough for me, especially the sex is short and I can go weeks without having an orgasm with him (I take care of myself in private almost every day, somewhat resentfully I’ll admit). He typically cums quickly and then sex is done for him… if I hinted, he’d probably continue fooling around with me for awhile but at that point it seems halfhearted and awkward. Penetration is where it’s at for me, anyway – I can’t get off that way but I enjoy it way more. The ideal situation would involve penetration and having my clit stimulated but it’s difficult for me to get my hand down there with him on top of me (he’s overweight and his stomach is always pressed against me pretty solidly). Oh, but he doesn’t like sex toys. I talked him into trying a couple with me (we bought a vibrating cock ring and a small vibrator on different occasions) but I’ve only gotten to use them each once or twice.
I highlighted segments that I think are important here and I want to talk about them. It seems like you two are, at least at this point, sexually incompatible in some pretty big ways. You want sex a lot, he wants it a little. You like to be made dirty, he prefers it vanilla. Neither of these things are necessarily wrong, you just appear to have different preferences. Often times at the start of a relationship these differences can be hidden by the excitement of newness, where you’re still exploring one another. Then you settle into a comfortable place and you realize one partner might want a particular pace that the other partner doesn’t want. Sometimes this changes — one partner that is more vanilla begins to want to explore, or one partner that is super kinky winds down a bit and leans towards a quieter intimacy. For many people, their sexual preferences are hardwired in, and they are the way that they are. That’s just their sexual language.
On language, I pulled two interesting parts at the start:
1) I try to make him feel that way —
2) I don’t feel that he makes much effort to make me feel wanted —
Remember that what makes your partner feel loved, wanted, or sexy, might be different than what makes you feel loved, wanted, and sexy. It sounds like you might be communicating to him but he’s not hearing you, and maybe vice versa. It also sounds like communication about sex or during sex is falling flat, because your needs aren’t being met. It’s not unreasonable to want to use positions that help you get off or to have sex for a length of time to allows you to orgasm. If he can’t enjoy playing with you after he orgasms maybe he should focus on making sure you get off once before he gets himself off. Extending foreplay is a great way to help do that.
It all goes back to that first question, though. Are you sexually incompatible? Can you two bend to meet one another’s needs and find excitement in that middle ground? Are these things new in your relationship or has the sex always in some way been less than what you’d expected? There are lots of questions, and lots of potential answers.
So anyway to get to my statement about being greedy about him. If I am not being sexually satisfied regularly and my attempts to get his attention and attract him don’t work, what the FUCK is he doing scrolling through the FB pictures of girls he doesn’t know, doing hell knows what to them, or checking out other women in public? It seems extremely unfair that I can spend a whole evening out being attentive and affectionate to him, wearing a low-cut dress that puts like 40% of my boobs right out there, and he leaves my at my place with just a few prolonged kisses, but apparently I’m supposed to accept his checking out other women as normal and healthy and not something I should want him to stop even if I feel constantly unnoticed, unfulfilled and sexually frustrated. I am jealous and distrustful. I am completely aware that these are problems I have. I don’t know how to work through them, I just don’t even know where to begin. I know my dissatisfaction with our sex life isn’t helping.
I feel like he isn’t open with me about what he likes, or what he doesn’t like about things I’ve requested, or anything really – so I feel paranoid and weird and sad and I don’t know what to do about any of this mess. If I don’t bring anything up, it doesn’t come up, and when I’ve mentioned things in the past he just gets sad and mopey and, stuff changes for a little bit, but it just feels so damn obligatory and forced it’s miserable. Sorry for rambling, I just need to spill to someone. I don’t expect you to have all the answers but it’d be cool to hear someone else give a take on this.
You mentioned that you were starting to get yourself off – resentfully so. I think this paragraph and that statement reflects that you’re starting to realize that this has been unwell for a while and it’s time to either fix it or end it. It seems to me that you’re frustrated with him and your lack of sex or lack of intimacy and that you’re getting extra agitated by outside stuff now because you’re simply not satisfied. It’s possible he knows whats going on. It’s possible he too is equally upset about it. It’s possible he’s also working through some stuff. The one thing that’s clear is something needs to change. I would suggest having more heavy conversations about your unhappiness. It might be helpful to use a couples counselor as an in-between to help you communicate with one another. When you’re upset it’s easy to use blaming statements like “you don’t care about me, you look at other girls, we never have sex” but these statements aren’t going to be helpful in finding solutions. You won’t be able to take on everything at once. What you will need is a partner who recognizes that things aren’t where they should be, and a partner who is willing to work with you to fix one thing at a time. I think this will require patience.
I should mention that aside from my ramblings in the previous ‘question’, by boyfriend is awesome. He’s smart and caring and outside of feeling angry about how some of his female friends seem to want to make me feel secondary, and feeling like he’s not as attracted to me or interested in exploring and growing sexually with me, we are typically happy. But sex is a big deal for me and I don’t want the highlight of my sex life to be when he wants to switch from missionary to doing it in a chair or something, haha. I just though I should add that he’s an awesome person, I’m just not sure what to do about all the awkwardness and weirdness surrounding sex and stuff. I mean, it’s been three years, after all…
This was submitted after your initial question and reminds me a lot of what couples do when they are unhappy. You can make a list of epic proportions about the things in your relationship that aren’t right and then end it with “but you know, he’s a good guy and I love him.” I don’t know why this is necessary for people to do. Of course, it’s because it’s true. I’m certain he is smart and caring and I’m certain you are too. These things don’t make a great relationship, though. Not all awesome and smart people can be sexually compatible with you. Not all awesome and smart people can make lifelong romantic partners. Sometimes relationships hit a wall where you realize they’ve lived their full life and either you or he develops needs or desires that extend past what that relationship offers. I don’t know if this is true of your relationship but it certainly seems that you are unhappy, and if I had to guess, he probably has some wants/needs of his own that he might not be sharing. Figure out if those are something you can work on together or if those are even things you want to work on together. If he’s unable or unwilling to work on those things with you, that’s a much bigger problem, and you’ll want to question where your relationship is headed.
These points are all really important and I hope others will chime in with their advice because there are lots of factors and lots of things to think about. I’m sorry you’re going through this and I hope that whatever the solution is that you are able to find some happiness. Best luck!