He’s great – but we’re not sexually compatible

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Hi Meredith -

I (27 straight female) have been in a relationship with a guy (25 straight male) for the past six months. On an intellectual and emotional level I feel we're pretty well-matched and care for each other deeply. He's honest, consistent, stable, and generous. We speak on the phone daily, see each other every weekend, and have introduced each other to our respective friends and families.

However, our sexual and romantic compatibility is lacking. In the first three months of our relationship, he was incredibly sexual, but now, despite all the time we spend together, we've had sex about twice in the past three months. Curiously we've never fought about it, but we just don't ... do it. We kiss hello and goodbye and snuggle a bit, but we don't even make out. We have a great time together, but it's more like an intimate friendship. I don't find myself very sexually attracted to him, but I really like him as a partner. I'm also on an SSRI which lowers my libido, so I thought this wouldn't be a problem.

I have tried initiating sex with him to make sure I wasn't sending him a signal that I wasn't interested, but he's turned me down, saying he wasn't in the mood, he's tired, he'd need to take a shower first, etc., so we end up just not doing it. He's struggled with depression and body image issues in the past, and I've also had conversations with him about our lack of sexual intimacy, which he has chalked up to as "time bonding together and getting to know each other." I've also asked if it concerned him and he said no, because "everyone goes through phases of being horny" – that ebb and flow – but three months seems like a lot for a new relationship. He's made no indication that he's unhappy or wants to break up with me, either.

I really enjoy his non-sexual companionship. I love the time we spend together and I trust him completely, which is why I haven't broken up with him, but I've recently become attracted to another guy. I have cautiously brought up opening up our relationship, which he has shut down. I feel bad to suggest something like this to a person who has treated me so well, but I recognize in myself that I need more sexual attention from someone I'm sexually attracted to in order to have a happy romantic relationship.

I feel like the honest course of action is to break up with him, because we're essentially already in an intimate friendship. I don't want to hurt him, because I would really like to remain friends with him, but I understand if that's not possible or selfish on my end. I don't think it's fair for either of us to continue in a relationship that's sexually incompatible, even if it is fulfilling in other ways. But maybe I shouldn't throw away a good thing just to have more/different sex? Please help.

– Unfulfilled

Break up with him. Grieve the loss of this wonderful person in your life, but don't doubt the decision. You're a match in so many ways, but the one thing that's lacking is important to you. If it's not happening at six months, I don't see it getting better at eight or a year.

Also, he's made it clear that he's not worried about it. He likes things as they are. And by the way, there's nothing wrong with what he wants (or doesn’t). It just means you're not compatible.

Understand that he probably won't be able to give you friendship, at least not now. Maybe later, but don’t count on it.

It’s great you have a crush on someone else. It was the sign you needed, the one that said you're still looking for someone who wants what you do. Once you say goodbye to what you have, see what's next. Know that any new relationship might not offer the emotional intimacy you have with your boyfriend now. That's OK, and again, it doesn't mean the breakup was a mistake.

– Meredith

Readers? Any reason to stay with the boyfriend? What happened after three months?