New podcast episode up today! It's a good story with advice for anyone who's secretly a little sick of looking at their spouse.
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Older demographic here; I'm 61 and he's 59. I'm athletic, attractive, have a good job, and own my home. We've been together for seven years. He's mostly a great companion and we've had a lot of fun together. But to get straight to the point, he has had little interest in sex for about the last three years. Even before that, I was the one to initiate anything. We've had sex twice in the past year and neither time was fulfilling for either of us. I spoke to him about the lack of intimacy mid-January, about how much it bothered me, and he admitted to being depressed and having little interest (he has a history of depression and drinks a lot in the evenings). And though he is quite affable in the evenings after a few drinks, he is not interested in sex. He said he would look into anti-depressants. That hasn't happened, but I do recognize that all hell has broken loose in the interim.
Fast forward to now. He's living with me in my house, as his housemate works with the public and we decided that limiting his time at his apartment would be best. I'm grateful for the company and he does most of the cooking and work around the house. But we're going on three months of living together and spending a whole lot of time together, and there is still nothing going on. Am I expecting too much given our age? Sometimes I feel incredibly selfish that this is so important to me. Other times I want to end this relationship because I'm feeling pretty resentful. I wish I could just walk up to people in long-term relationships and ask them how often they have sex but I doubt that would go over well. I'm sure your readers will have plenty of input. Any perspective would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
– Expecting too much?
You're not asking for too much. Everyone has different needs, and if your partner has no interest in meeting yours, the relationship might not work anymore. But he has mentioned wanting to address this issue. Let's focus on that.
Usually I'd say that no one should put pressure on themselves – or a partner – to make big changes during this complicated time. So many people just getting through the day; it's overwhelming to hear, "OK, now be a better version of yourself, please." But this is a great time for telehealth and therapy. If he wants to address his depression and coping mechanisms, why not now? I don't know where you live, but the list of options for therapy at the bottom of this story might give you some ideas. Also, talking to a doctor is a great start, especially about sex drive, in general. That can happen via telehealth, as well.
Please understand that this process will involve patience. Some anti-depressants contribute to a lack of sex drive. It might take a bit for him to find help, talk it through, make choices about treatment, and pursue a plan. Maybe you won't mind waiting if he's making the effort. That's where it has to begin. Let him know that while you appreciate all that he's doing as a partner in your home, this quarantine time has amplified the problem with physical intimacy. Ask him if he’s willing to start the work.
Also know that if you did ask a bunch of people how often they have sex, you'd get so many different answers. People with toddlers might just sigh. Other couples might tell you they have sex three times a week but wish it could be more. I imagine that quarantine has changed people's habits a lot, too. Try to focus on your own needs – because it’s all so individual. All that matters is your own relationship.
Readers? If the letter writer's partner doesn't want to make any changes, then what?