‘Whenever we plan to make love, he ends up falling asleep’

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Hi Meredith! 

My boyfriend and I have been together for three years. He has never been the sexual type. In fact, he is not very interested in sex at all. My issue is that it makes me feel ugly and completely unwanted. 

What can I do to get his attention and let him know that if things don't change I have to move on? I really don't want to leave him, as I am very much in love with him and he says he is very much in love with me – but I have needs. Whenever we plan to make love, somehow he ends up falling asleep. All that does is make it worse because in my eyes. If my spouse was lacking some sort of attention, I would be sure to give him that attention to avoid any unnecessary problems.

I don't want to lose him! I should probably add that there is a 16-year gap in our ages. He is 16 years younger than I am. I am 50 and he is 34. I'm so hurt and confused. Please help.

– Hurt

There are many ways to be incompatible. One is sexually.

You love this man, but you miss sex enough to consider a breakup. That seems to be the answer – to leave. It's an "almost right" partnership, but not designed to last forever.

Asking him to change his sex drive is like him asking you to change yours. You could try to want less sex, but it would feel unnatural. It already feels like a part of you is muted. In his case, he’d be trying make something happen that isn't there. You said it best – he’s "not the type."

I understand why you might jump to the conclusion that this is about the way you look, but that doesn't seem to be it. It's not as though there was some honeymoon period where he couldn't keep his hands off you, and now it's changed because he's lost interest. Again, it was always this way.

You both deserve to be yourselves in a relationship. Any good connection takes compromise, but no one should be asking the other person to alter who they are – or how they feel about sex. End the romantic relationship as two people who care about each other but want a better match for themselves. Seek out people who want to do many things before falling asleep.

You might introduce some new problems at that point (dating can be difficult), but at least you'll know anything is possible.

– Meredith

Readers? Are there other steps to consider before leaving the relationship? Any alternatives to walking away? Is the age gap relevant here?