Dear Neil: I have been with my partner for three years. In the beginning, our love making was great, but as time went on she stopped giving herself to me on a regular basis. I now get sex once a month, if I’m lucky. It seems related to money, because the more I make, the more she wants to take, and then she is more sexual with me. But I lost my job three months ago, and now she’s angry with me all the time. I have come to realize that I feel so much lighter without her. I truly want to leave, but I’m afraid of being alone. How do I move on?
- Sucked Dry in Miami, FL
Dear Miami: You move on by deciding your life is better without her than with her, and then by acting upon that decision-by cutting the relationship off-and keeping it cut off. Your task is to heal yourself, to learn whatever lessons this relationship has taught you, and also to take whatever gifts or blessings this relationship has afforded you.
Dear Neil: My boyfriend and I have been together for about two years. We were living together and we cuddled a lot, but that gradually dwindled away as he accused me of suffocating him, saying that he wanted us to live apart because he wanted “space.” So we broke up. When we got back together again, he told me he loved me and that he shouldn’t have broken us up.
But a couple of weeks later he virtually abandoned me. Now he says he’s not sure whether he loves me, and doesn’t want to talk about how to get closer again or how our relationship might develop in the future. I’ve expressed my unhappiness with the distance between us (he hardly ever touches me outside of bed in an affectionate way on his own accord unless I say something). I’ve asked whether there’s any point in us continuing to be together but he basically refuses to discuss it. I sometimes get told off for expressing my unhappiness at how things are. I want to be in a close, loving, committed, connected relationship, and have asked him to tell me if he doesn’t so that I can move on-but he won’t. What would you advise me?
- Unwanted in New Zealand
Dear New Zealand: Your boyfriend does not love you-and does not want a closer relationship or a future with you-but he isn’t coming out and directly saying that. It sounds as if he doesn’t want to acknowledge his true motives to you because he is reluctant to lose the sexual relationship he has with you.
So the ball is back in your court. Is the sexual connection enough for you, or do you want more from this relationship? If you want more, cut it off with him and find someone who wants an actual relationship with you, and who will value your feelings, needs, desires and your happiness.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at 303.758.8777, or e-mail him from his website, www.heartrelationships.com