Dear Em and Lo,
My boyfriend and I have been together for a year now. A few months ago we took a break and I moved out. I was really having a great time, but he showed up with roses and tears promising everything would change and that he couldn’t live without me. Fast Forward four months and he is once again being the most selfish person alive. I can deal with tantrums but one thing I can’t deal with is the fact that he is always too tired for sex. I’m a nympho! I want it three or four times a day and we haven’t had sex in a month and that ended with me hopping off and saying, “That’s okay, I figured you weren’t really into it.” Last night I initiated, as usual, and started going down which was fine. When I moved to get on top, he said, “Just stop, you know I’m too tired and you know it makes me feel bad, but you do it anyway.” So I resumed my position, gave him a blowjob, smoked a cigarette, and went to bed. How the hell am I supposed to feel? He lived alone for ten years before he met me. So he has made a ton of changes and I appreciate that, but everything else in the relationship is about him. I’m not a bad person, but I think about cheating all of the time just because I need to feel like somebody wants me. What do I do? Help!
— Neglected Nympho
Remind us why you took him back again? Did this guy hypnotize you? Drug you? Get you to join his own private cult? Seriously: roses and tears?! That’s what you’re supposed to get when he tells you that he didn’t really mean to say that your butt looks big in those jeans. But after a mini-break, he needs to actually prove that he’s already changed, not make some vague promise that he will change. Eventually. When he gets a round tuit.
We don’t have all the facts, obviously, but it sounds like this guy is either a huge asshole or has more issues than Reader’s Digest. Most likely, it’s a combination of both. Either way, giving him unreciprocated oral is not going to cure him. (Actually, it’s worse than unreciprocated oral — it’s downright unappreciated oral!) If you really care about him and want to make it work, couples therapy would be a good next step, so you can seriously try to figure out the root of your mutual sexual and relationship problems with an objective third party.
In therapy you might discover that bad experiences in his past keep him from embracing intimacy. Or that maybe he has performance anxiety. Or that you’re the one who’s unwilling to change for the better. Or that maybe you two just have such differing libido styles and requirements that no amount of compromise or chemistry will make you two work as a couple. We could go on.
But, honestly, it doesn’t sound like you want to make it work. It sounds like you’re looking for an excuse to break up. Exhibit A: considering keeping him around just to cheat on him? You wouldn’t be solving any problems — only creating more! So don’t make it so complicated: just break up with him. You already know that you can have a great time without him, so what are you waiting for? If you’re confident you’re not at fault here in any way, then dump him tonight! We know it’s nice to hear someone say, “I can’t live without you.” But you know what’s even nicer? Great sex with someone who treats you with both love and lust. It sounds like your BF gives you neither, so it’s time to say “I can live without you” (except in a kinder, gentler way).
Don’t worry, you can always get back together later if he really does change in the ways you hope, but he doesn’t need to know that. And right now, you need a clean break (i.e. not a “break”). Tell him that if he truly wants a relationship — either with you or with some other sucker (heh) — then he needs to figure out a way to deal with his issues, whether through solo therapy, gym membership, volunteer work, a stint in the army (kidding), prescription medication, meditation, whatever. If you want to leave the door open just a crack, tell him that he should feel free to drop you a line in six months to say hi — but that you don’t want to hear a goddamn peep out of him before that. Even if he shows up with a goddamn garden of roses and a goddamn river of tears.
If, at that point, he can prove that he’s made significant progress, then you might consider holding his hand — as his friend — through the rest of his self-improvement process. (Don’t tell him this, though — that’s just your top secret back-up plan to help you sleep on those nights when you miss him.) But we have a feeling that (a) That will neeeeeever happen; and (b) if it does, you’ll be so over him by then that you’ll tell him not to cry you a river.
Em & Lo