In Loving Relationship With Immature Man With ED

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am very confused about what to do about the relationship I am in. I am with a very good man who I love very much and who returns my love.
There are a few problems that I am beginning to wonder if it is worth continuing the relationship over.

The man is in his 30′s and was a virgin until I met him. He has diabetes and has had trouble getting an erection from the time I met him. We didn’t have sex until a year into the relationship after I forced him to get help. Now he uses pills and still has trouble getting hard. To top it all off, I have a very high sex drive and it is starting to really bother me, because he promised that over time, once he was able to do it, we would have sex everyday. I am getting very depressed about the sex and am starting to not want it with him anymore. Before this, I did EVERYTHING to try and get the sex to work. Now I feel hopeless.

We have talked about it, and he says that he wants it very much, but I need to understand that he is very afraid of sex and doesn’t know anything about it because he was a virgin until now. He says he will try but it will take time. In the meantime, we are still not having sex, maybe once a week if he can get it up with the pills, and it ends up being a lot of work and it doesn’t last very long. The worst part about it is that he won’t get help but wants to figure it out himself, and nothing is changing.

The other issue is that we have a huge gap in our educations and careers. We talked about this, and he promised me that he would work towards a career. He said he wanted to do this, and was interested in joining the police, but since we talked about it, has done nothing about it. There is a deadline to join which is 2 weeks away where he needs to submit a resume. He still has not done anything after promising me multiple times over the last few months. I have offered my help to make the resume, have reminded him nicely and nothing is moving him to do it. He won’t talk to me about it and just says it is his career and that he will do something, but on his time.

To make it even more complicated and stressful, we are supposed to get married in 8 months. He proposed before we ever had sex and when he told me the sex problem would be solved before the wedding happened. I also made it clear that he would need to start working towards a career before we set a date as well. The month is getting closer, he keeps trying to set a date, and I do not want to set a date. I am starting to feel very pressured.

The conflict is that I want to be with him very much. I love him so much, and he treats me really well and I believe he wants to be with me. He is a good man. The problem is, the above mentioned things are completely upsetting me. I cannot wait forever but I want to be with him. I feel as though I am doing everything to get things going for him, for us. It is killing me and the situation is causing me now to be very very depressed to the point I am starting to feel hopeless and that I should give up and leave him even though I want to be with him.

What do I do? I don’t feel I can talk to anyone because it is such an embarrassing situation.

Please help…I am desperate for suggestions and this is the only venue I feel comfortable bringing up the issues.

A. As you stated in your letter you and your partner are dealing with several challenging issues. The first issue is related to your sex life. Your partner feels inadequate about his sexual inexperience and abilities. It’s difficult for him to maintain an erection. It’s understandably an embarrassing topic for him to discuss. In addition, the two of you are on different sexual “wave lengths.” You have a higher sex drive than he does.

The second issue is related to his career. You said that you informed him in the beginning of the relationship that he needed to choose a career. He expressed interest in becoming a police officer. Now the deadline is fast approaching and he’s in no hurry to submit his resume. It seems that he’s either procrastinating or he has no interest in becoming a police officer.

With regard to the sexual aspect of the relationship the two of you may be incompatible. He was a virgin when you met him. He was shy and felt inadequate from the start of the relationship. He may also have a low sex drive, at least lower than yours.

Even if you and he are sexually incompatible it’s not a reason to break up. Sex is only a small part of the relationship. Many couples are sexually incompatible to varying degrees. It’s not uncommon for one person in the relationship to have a lower or higher sex drive than the other. The solution to this problem is not to end the relationship but to find a way to please both people. Sex therapy in this instance would be highly recommended.

The “red flag” with regard to the sex issue is not the fact that your partner has been unsuccessful in his attempts to correct the problem. It’s that he refuses to seek help for the problem even though nothing he has tried worked. It’s unhealthy for an individual to know there’s a problem and have no real interest in correcting it. It might be that he is simply embarrassed and that’s the reason he will not seek help. Try to distinguish what’s at the heart of the issue, embarrassment and fear or stubbornness.

I would also caution you against being so focused on sex. Your focus on sex might be making it more difficult for him to be open to a solution. Being embarrassed about this issue is something that might be a factor for you as well; you did refer to it in your letter. Sexual incompatibility is not something to be embarrassed about. As you can see if left unresolved this issue has the potential to hurt the relationship. This is another reason why you and he should consider sex therapy. One or two sessions with a sex therapist may be all that is needed to resolve this problem.

With regard to your partner not having a career it would be helpful if had more details about that aspect of your question. Did he have a job when you met? Was he between jobs? Had he ever worked? If not, how did he pay the bills? Did he attend college? Does he have a degree? I am curious to know exactly what his status was in the beginning of the relationship. Without more details, it’s difficult to give you an informed answer. It may be that he hasn’t found a career he likes or he has no real plans for a future career. If it’s the latter then you’ll need to decide whether he’s someone you want to continue a relationship with.

In summary, whether you or not you stay with your partner is a personal decision. Sex therapy and couples counseling might be effective solutions to these problems. Many couples are not perfect sexual matches. If both parties are open and reasonable the problem can be easily resolved.

Generally, if your partner is stubborn and unwilling to work on correcting his behavior and refuses to seek help then it may be a sign of an unhealthy person. This would be important information to know before you decide to get married. If he’s shy but is open to help and change then I would suggest that you be respectful, patient and open to compromise.

Lastly, I would also recommend that if you have not already done so inform him that you’re considering terminating the relationship because of these unresolved issues. Alerting him to this information might be enough to get him into counseling or at least to try another approach to solving these issues. This should not be done in a confrontational manner. You want to convey the message that problem solving is a united and combined effort. Thanks for writing. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Feb 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). In Loving Relationship With Immature Man With ED. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/02/02/in-loving-relationship-with-immature-man-with-ed/