My boyfriend and I have been together for about 10 months now.
He is divorced with one son and I also have a son. In the beginning of our
relationship, everything was amazing. He treated me like a princess, we had sex at least once a day, he always seemed attracted to me and was very interested in me all the time. About 3 months into our relationship, his ex-wife called his cell phone at 6am to apologize for leaving him one last time. I was in bed next to him when she called and heard the whole thing. It was all very innocent and he told her he accepted her apology and wished her the best of luck. Their relationship lasted 9 years full of torture but my boyfriend is a very old-fashioned man who would not get resort to divorce unless the other person was the one to walk away, which she was. Since that phone call, or so it seems (I may be trying to find a reason), he suddenly seemed to lose interest in me sexually. He got sick with the flu right after so, naturally, he wasn’t feeling sexy. Then our sex dropped from once a day to around 3 times a week. Then to once a week. We went on vacation just the two of us for 9 days and had sex once and I had to initiate it. We have lived together for the past 7 months and its not JUST the lack of sex; he doesn’t kiss me (except for quick pecks goodbye), or want to hold me anymore. Even the silly things have disappeared like trying to take a picture of me in the shower. I can walk around naked with no response from him. We have sex once every few weeks when he finally initiates it and it makes me feel like he’s either doing it to pacify me or doing it just because of a basic primal need. I have told him multiple times that I feel rejected, unattractive and that I’m rapidly turning into his roommate rather than his girlfriend. Our intimacy level went from 100 to 5 in a matter of a few months. I love him very much and he is a wonderful man. He takes care of me and our family, he is kind and considerate, we get along wonderfully – why is this happening?? I asked him if he was being distant as a way to signal he was unhappy; as an attempt to play the martyr and get ME to leave and he cried and apologized and told me he never wanted me to feel unloved or unattractive and he was sorry. But things have remained the same. When we first got together and moved into our apartment, he threw away all of the old stuff that belonged to him and his wife and I stumbled across a photo album from her to him full of naked pictures of her. It stung a little because they were photos that HE took of her which showed me that he IS a sexual person to some degree. He was very sexual with me in the beginning and he was obviously sexual with her. It made me think, “Why isn’t he interested in doing these things with ME?” I mean, in most cases it’s the man who suggests specific sexual scenarios and it’s the woman who needs to approve. I’m not saying I need a kinky sexual relationship or that I WANT him to take naked photos of ME but at this point, ANY indication that we are a couple would be nice. I’m just so tired of feeling like his friend. What can I do? I’ve tried talking to him about it and he apologizes but things remain the same. Why did his attitude toward me change so drastically? The worst part is that I’m pretty much out of luck either way because discussing it with him only makes me feel like if he DOES show some interest, he’s doing so just because I complained yet not talking to him does nothing either. I don’t want him to make love to me just to shut me up but I can’t go on feeling so deprived of affection. I don’t know what to do. I’ve never had a healthy relationship until this one and I know I have always had a problem differentiating sex and love when I was growing up. My boyfriend and I have a wonderful relationship other than the intimacy issues and those issues only seem to be affecting me. He doesn’t feel deprived of affection or sex, but I really feel like he treats me like his best friend rather than his lover. Is it me? Do I expect too much?
A: First of all you say that you have been dating your boyfriend for 10 months and have lived together for 7 months. That means you two had dated for only 3 months before moving in together. In my opinion, this is way too soon to know if you make a good match, ESPECIALLY when there are children involved. You didn’t mention how long he and his ex-wife have been apart either so I have no way of knowing whether or not he had enough time to truly heal and get closure on that relationship before moving in with you. I read once that you should be single three months for every year of marriage. That would suggest that he would need 2 ½ years to heal before he would be ready for another relationship. Unfortunately people rarely give themselves enough time to get over their last relationship before they start another. It could be that he is really not ready to be in another committed relationship so soon and that his pulling away in the sexual department is the main indicator of this. You stated that you are 21 and that he was married for 10 years so I am also assuming that he is older than you. It could be that he had a strong sexual appetite in the beginning because it was new and exciting but now that things are settling in, he may not really have the same need for frequency as you do because of his age. Additionally, having sex is certainly not the only way to feel close to someone and build intimacy. I suggest that you continue to talk to him and really listen to what he says and doesn’t say. If this issue continues, it is never too soon to get into couple’s therapy. It is much better to work things out early in the game rather than waiting till you are in too deep. Good luck and I hope you two can find some happy medium so that you can both be happy, and if not, I hope you can part gracefully.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Dec 2006
Counts, H. (2006). My boyfriend seems to have lost interest in me.. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/12/13/my-boyfriend-seems-to-have-lost-interest-in-me/