Skin Deep

I have been dating a woman for seven years and living with her for three. Reasonably enough, she now wants me either to marry and have a child with her or set her free.

She is gorgeous and I find her even more beautiful and desirable than the day we met. She loves me. She is loyal. She comforts me when I am sad. We hardly ever fight.

But we have always had a disconnect in our libidos. I want sex far more than she does, and I am frustrated at this lack. She has again promised to try better, but her past attempts always petered out after a month or so, as is understandable. It’s hard to have sex if you don’t want it.

Though I mostly enjoy her conversation, I do not find it thrilling; it is her beauty that thrills me. When I am away for a week or two for work, our daily phone calls often feel like chores.

Despite the relationship’s flaws, I have been happier these seven years than ever before. Should I trust that happiness? I had doubts from the start but always pushed past them, been happy and made her happy, too. No relationship is perfect. Yet marriage and parenthood frighten me, though I also fear losing her and being alone.

I suffered violence from loved ones as a child, and it made me avoid relationships. I am almost 44, but this relationship is my first serious one. Before her, I always found excuses to push good women away. I fear I am doing the same now.

If she knew what I was feeling, if she read this letter, she would not marry me. She wants to be fully loved and she deserves it. Perhaps my answer lies there. But I have seen friends marry full of passion and certainty, only to have the marriage fall apart.

~ Paul

Paul, too much is wrong with your letter. You want a woman who is beautiful and there for you sexually. But you don’t enjoy talking to her when you are away. When her beauty goes, what will you be left with?

Nothing in your letter tells us you are in love with her. You are in love with her looks, or more likely, you are aroused by her looks, and that truly is your connection to her. What frustrates you is that this beautiful body won’t let you have sex with it whenever you want.

We are not surprised she doesn’t want intimacy more often. You don’t love her. How could she not sense that? Are you such a great actor she doesn’t feel that? You know if she has a child you will get less of what you already feel you aren’t getting enough of. You know that beautiful body will be changed by childbirth.

You are with her but not with her. There is no sense of growing old together in your letter. There is no sense she completes you, no sense you can’t bear to be away from her. Yet you would rather not make a decision. You would rather keep this model awhile, then go out and get a prettier one. She is the one who needs to make a decision now, before she gets any older.

It may be you need to work on you in order to have a chance to have that connection with someone. But not being able to have that connection with her doesn’t mean you have a right to deprive her of that connection with someone else.

Be kind to her. Let her hear the sentence in your letter you do not want her to hear, so she can be free.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Gut Reaction

Dear Wayne & Tamara, these are tough words, but I needed to hear them. I am grateful for your time and wisdom. Sincerely,

~ Paul

Column for the week of June 2, 2014

Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.

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