I've been with my girlfriend for about five years. We're both in our early 30s and have had serious relationships in the past. When we first started seeing each other, it was pure magic. We were inseparable and I fell head over heels for her. The passion was off the charts, and we would stay up all night just chatting about anything and everything. For the first time in my life I was with someone that I could marry. We made big plans for our future.
But over the past 12 months, things have just become unbearable. It started with small things, like she didn't want to speak on the phone or text like we used to. This soon spread into our love life with her not wanting to be intimate anymore. I raised the issue with her and she told me she was feeling self-conscious and didn't want to feel pressured into anything. I know she has been in abusive relationships, so I wouldn't ever want to make her uncomfortable, so I totally respected her wishes. I didn't apply any pressure. I explained that I didn't fall in love with sex, I fell in love with her and I'd always be here for her. But ... we haven't had sex in over six months. It's probably been around seven months since we properly kissed. She won't hug me, she won't even hold my hand.
To make matters worse, she tells me she is self-conscious but still posts pictures of herself on social media. She refuses to hug me, but if she goes out with her friends or work colleagues, she will post pictures of herself hugging her guy friends. If I bring up how I feel, she tells me I'm pressuring her and that she doesn't feel comfortable. If I push the issue, she will accuse me of trying to start an argument and ask me to leave. This has left me feeling worthless. I literally worship this girl, yet she won't even hold my hand. Friends have told me to break it off with her. Some have even suggested she may be cheating. These thoughts have crossed my mind, but I love this girl beyond words. I can’t just give up because I know how good we can be. I'll do whatever it takes to fix our relationship – if it can be fixed. Can it be fixed or am I wasting my time? Is there more going on? What do I do?
– Still love her
"I'll do whatever it takes to fix our relationship ..."
The question is, will she? It's wonderful that you're being patient, considering her feelings, and respecting her need for physical space, but your happiness matters, too. Is she doing anything to address your concerns about the relationship? When she says she's self-conscious, does she talk about what that means? You can't be the only one working to keep things together. She has to be a partner in this.
You can tell her everything you told us in your letter – that you don't want to put pressure on her, but that you can't ignore how lonely you've become in this relationship. You can suggest couples therapy. You can ask her if she has any ideas for making this work. If she's not open to the conversation, that's your answer.
A tip: Don't focus on the social media posts or how you see her interacting with others. A person can post selfies all day and still be insecure about how they look. In fact, sometimes self-consciousness leads to those kinds of pics – because they generally come with validation in the form of likes. Also, hugging a friend is sometimes easier than holding the hand of a significant other. It's just different, so keep the conversation focused on the two of you.
Readers? Is it time to walk away or to work harder to fix this?