Saturday, 11 February 2012

If You Loved Me You'd Have Sex

Dear Babs

I am 46 year old Office Manager and I am in the process of divorcing my husband. I won't bore you with the details. He's a good man but we simply grew apart. We both agreed the relationship had run its course and he has since moved in with someone he works with.

I met my current partner on a dating website. We are incredibly compatible sexually but he seems to want intercourse more frequently than I do. He takes the viewpoint that if I loved him I'd want to please him and I think if he loved me he wouldn't want me to do something I don't want do. He is also more tactile than I am. I like being sexually intimate but other than that like my own space.

He is in the process of extricating himself from his previous relationship (his words not mine) but he still seems very involved with his wife and his family. He and his wife have had an on/off relationship for years. He has left several times but has always gone back. He says he only wants to be with me but he often seems to prioritise their wants before mine. He says that's because he can talk to me and I'll compromise.  I don't get it. He seems to be saying if I love him I'll just accept his point of view. I do love him but I'm beginning to feel like the sacrificial lamb.

I don't want to end this relationship but I'm not sure we can make it work. What do you think? 

Dear Petra

I think you could both do with some help to make sense of your feelings. In fact perhaps that could be something you could do with each other. I can heartily recommend Relate for couple counselling see details  on my links page. My own belief is that good relationships work on compromise. You appear to be saying your partner does not compromise he expects those who love him to accommodate him. If I'm honest that feels like quite a simplistic even childlike point of view.

It also sounds as if holds his partners over a barrel. If his wife doesn't please him he walks out and implicit it seems is the idea that if you don't please him he can go back to his wife? 

As to sex. It is not unusual for men to see sex as an expression of affection or love and it may be if you were to discuss this just being more demonstrative or loving could be the answer. He may feel more loved and you wouldn't feel pressurised. But if I have interpreted what you've said correctly it sounds as if this has been an area where you have been previously unwilling to compromise? 

Based on what you've told me I would have said there are issues for both of you around power and control and knowing why in itself can help. Therefore, again I would recommend you seek professional help but remember for you both to be in a win/win situation you would both need to be able to give and take. 


  1. How long-standing is the relationship? My strong feeling here is that the couple are not compatible, but not just because of sex. Petra is looking for another partner, fair enough, but is this too much of a rebound situation? Her new man friend doesn't sound controlling to me. He sounds insecure in a general sort of way and so I wonder if he is possessive as well? Petra's penultimate sentence feels to me like she already knows what the answer is.

  2. Thanks Kathryn it always helps to have different points of view - we all bring something different based on our own experience

  3. Its interesting that there is a power battle going on did they meet and what was the attraction??? Did she mirror image herself with him...he cant let go of his life thats past and never will I,d say...what exactly is she looking for in a relationship?. If I was her I would list all the things that she loves about him..and dislikes about him and their relationship. If she is feeling pressure to have sex when she doesnt want to but is afraid to say...alarm bells ring for me as this could be a sign of whats to come in their relationship..they are both mature in some respects..her more than him..should talk and get things sorted now. Relate will help them sort out what they both want..if they are incompatable and cant meet half way then it may not be the best for her to continue, being unhappy a wakeup call...he will always run back to his wife..must be enjoying this double life.

  4. One of the problems is that often there isn't enough when people write to me not enough detail is given and so I/we are left reading between the lines. In Petra's case I do feel counselling is the best option. Than you so much for your comment.

  5. Hi Babs, this one is not something I'm going to touch. I think you gave great advice (that's always what you do). I hope Petra listens:-)

  6. thanks Suzie for your supportive comment :)