I listen to you every Thursday on ZPL. You are great. I have a question. I guess I really don’t know how to perceive my new relationship. I need an outsider’s opinion.

My boyfriend and I have been dating now for about five months. When we met I don’t think either of us thought the other was all that cute but we liked each other’s personalities. We continued to see each other because, hey, looks aren’t everything, right? We have an amazing time together except when it comes to physical intimacy. He loves on me and kisses me but will not get hot and heavy with me. We have sex about once every two weeks if that. He says he doesn’t want to get me pregnant; however, I am on the pill and we use a condom.

Secondly, he says he just isn’t all that sexual and thirdly, that he is not as attracted to me physically as he could be ... i.e., I need to lose weight. I am not that heavy but I do have some beer chub from college. Anyway, he met me at this weight and chose to stay. I actually broke up with him, telling him that I felt more like a friend than a girlfriend to him. I told him the difference between a friendship and a relationship is the attraction factor. He didn’t say much other than he loved me and didn’t want to lose me. I told him I couldn’t stay in a relationship that I didn’t feel attractive to my partner. I don’t have a high self-esteem as it is and I will be hellbent if I let a guy bring me down any further again.

Anyway, he came back later and said he realized he did love me and looks were no longer a factor. I gave him a second chance because I understand sometimes you don’t realize what you have until you lose it. Anyway, things got better for a short while but now we are back in the same boat. He won’t get physical with me; every time we do get intimate I initiate it. I feel low and depressed now because I don’t feel attractive. I don’t understand him at all; he’s now begun talking about marrying me and how he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. I would love to spend my life with him if the physical intimacy would change. I am very unhappy. I want this to work but I am afraid I will always be self-conscious with him now because I feel he is not attracted to me, even though he tells me otherwise. He has said he would go to sex therapy with me and that this is a problem with him, not me. Am I wrong to feel the way I feel? Am I overreacting? Are we doomed or do we have a chance? Please help!


Dear Anon,
I don’t like to think of anyone as doomed, but honestly, we’re looking at sizable problems. Because these issues have already caused a breakup in five months, the marriage talk should stop, that I do know.

I don’t know how much more you want to invest emotionally (and financially), but couples’ therapy is probably needed if you decide to persevere. However, don’t go into it thinking it will make this relationship what you want it to be. It’s more of a feasibility study at this point. You may both leave more capable of passion, confidence and intimacy. Also, you may discover what you (and I) already suspect: You’re tremendous friends, and nothing more. Seek help, but be prepared for either outcome. Good luck.

P.S. Someone as perceptive and articulate as you deserves to feel much better about herself … FIX THAT FIRST!

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