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Ask the Counsellors: Lonely Partner

My fiancé and myself have not been intimate for almost three months. We have done counselling in the past and while in the moment we both put effort in. Now we seem to not so much. I ask him why are we not intimate and his response is that we need more quality time together, but then that happens but nothing happens in the bedroom afterwards. I’m feeling lonely I tell him that, and no response given. I say I want sex bluntly and no response. I feel he isn’t interested in that part of our relationship. In saying all that I know, I’m at fault too. I put all this on him. I’m frustrated with all the busyness in our life and the no intimacy adds more stress. So I feel mad at him a lot. When we dated I know I used to initiate sex a lot. I need him to initiate it. Show me with all the stuff going on in our lives you still find me attractive like you did when we dated. I don’t want to lose that part of us.

-Sigh, Lonely Partner

Dear Lonely Partner,

I am sorry to hear that things are not going well. When there is a lack or decline of sexual intimacy, it is often easy to assume the worst. We often feel as though our partners are no longer attracted to us, having an affair or simply not in love with us anymore. There are a host of reasons that could be accounting for this shortfall in your relationship and most likely, it isn’t as devastating as you may think.

Some possible reasons for a general decline in sexual activity include lack of non-sexual intimacy, stress, body image issues, substance abuse, physical constraints, real or perceived rejection, lack of non-sexual affection, depression, sexual performance issues, hormones, sexual trauma, shame and infidelity.

From what you have said, it sounds like it could be a one or a few of the above mentioned causes. Most people and couples have a ‘baseline’ sex drive and as you stated, you used to have sex more frequently but you were the one initiating more so I believe it would be safe to say that your sex drive is higher than your fiancé’s. It is typical for couples to have sex more frequently when they first start dating and to see a decline as the relationship continues.

If your fiancé doesn’t have a high sex drive, this decline may seem more extreme and would make sense. This doesn’t mean however, that sex should stop as it has for you and your fiancé. This is especially true if sexual intimacy is an important part of the relationship for you. Intimacy looks different for everyone and each individual gives and receives love in different ways. There may be a disconnect in how each of you are giving and receiving love to each other. He has stated that he needs more quality time and you have admitted to feeling resentful and angry with him a lot, which could be causing him to feel disconnected the same way you are feeling disconnected but for different reasons. It sounds as though neither one of you are getting everything that you need out of your relationship.

The best solution is open, honest communication to get to the bottom of what is causing this decline or lack of sexual intimacy. It takes work and good communication for any relationship to be successful. I encourage you to book an appointment with one of our skilled therapists to explore how you can better meet each other’s needs and express your love in a way that is meaningful for both of you. This may mean consciously going out of your way to do things for each other that you don’t necessarily need for yourself. It is about understanding and compromise.

Kelly Gerhardt RPC, B.Ed. M.Ed
Registered Professional Counsellor