Dear Em & Lo: BF Doesn’t Want Me, But Can’t Live Without Me

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

Dear N.N.,

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.

Drill sergeants,

Em & Lo


  1. Neglected Nympho. He wants his cake, but doesn’t want to eat it.

    SAD! And from a woman who would be happy to have him do so.

    I think maybe (I don’t KNOW) he wants you so nobody else can “have” you and then once he “gets you” he feels he doesn’t have to put any work into the relationship.

    Sex is the least he can do, and if he isn’t doing THAT, what is he contributing? (Not that “contributing” anything with NO sex is acceptable.) Why did you take him back again?

    Breaking Up is HARD to do, but once you’ve gotten away, you have the relief of being free, and still the “good times” memories of what he MIGHT HAVE BEEN (but couldn’t live up to.) I don’t know what good times you had, but I think maybe the nostalgia of the past sucked you in.

    I tell you, I know what I would do. I’d get out as soon as possible. You were happy playing the field and now you are lonely while “in a relationship” you are getting no sex, and are not happy at all.

    You can leave again. I don’t see this getting any better for you in the long run. He probably isn’t going to just start wanting to have sex at all, much less the 2 times a day you probably want.

    I’d either kick somebody to the curb, or pack my shit and leave. Don’t bother cheating. WHY? What is there in him to stay with? Please, honey. A MONTH? With no sex, except an occasional blow Job for HIM and nothing for you? NOT ACCEPTABLE. There are plenty of men who contribute, can have feelings, and love sex, as well as will appreciate you. Why bother with this jerk?

    Please. Save yourself.

    I’m sorry he hurt you. It’s time to get out while you can without more and worse damage to your self esteem and without losing even more of your time.

    Hugs, I’m sorry he’s STILL a jerk. You can do better. You will do better. Get out there and go back to the Good Times until you find someone compatible. You deserve better than he. Really.

  2. Relationships can and do recover from the damage caused by financial infidelity. Rebuilding trust is an essential part of healing your relationship when financial infidelity has occurred. Many peoples relationship problems do not stem from money but the occasional ones do, this is what I have found anyway.

  3. Hello..

    he went from 10 years alone to being with a nympho-? thats pretty intense, sounds damaging. does he know he doesnt want to be with a highly-sexual person or is he just forcing himself to go with it until it gets too much (ie, until youre actually very intimate and initiate sex)? relationships are a two-way system, i wouldnt be surprised if his selfishness and lack of sexual interest is in response to you (indirectly or not) not giving him enough time/space to figure out what he wants from the relationship or from himself, and by not communicating with each other and prob by assuming too highly about his ability to cope with living a gf/being commited, etc.

    it’s very easy to just get into the habit of trying to get what you want all the time cause you cant just meet the problem head on or even know what’s getting to you. hell, he’s forcing himself to do things for you, trying to convince you to take him back, like your opinion is more important then his own, he seems very confused. he shouldnt need to change himself for anyone, only to improve his own life and to love himself.. so just stop putting that idea into his head, it’s just going to make things worse. if hes going to change, he needs to do it cause he cares about himself.

    you’re both better off without the other, tbh, just leave and tell him to leave you alone, it’d be good for him and as you know, good for you too. thinking about cheating on him to me is enough of a reason to leave, anyway. neither of you deserves to go through all of that just cause you both cant say ‘no’ or know if it’s what you want to say.. go with your gut..

  4. yeah it just sounds like regular compatibility problems. I had the opposite problem with a boyfriend. he wanted it WAAAAAAY more ofteen than I did, and took extremely personally when I just wasn’t “in the mood.” Eventually I had to break up with him, and now both of us are happier, even though he tried very hard to maintain a too-close friendship while he “got over me.” I refused to talk to him for while like em and lo say. Now it’s my go to when ever I talk to girls having guy troubles. girl: “he’s so mean to me now that we’ve broken up!” me: “STOP TALKING TO HIM IF YOU BROKE UP, DUH!”

  5. This is a problem if sexual desire between within the couple. If that was the only think going on in this relationship ( trouble wise ) I would recommend sending the guy to a urologyst or endocrinologist for a physical. His problem might have physical reasons ( diabetes, low testosterone, high blood pressure, etc.) and those reasons need be addressed.

    When you talk about his selfishness, then as second element comes into the mix. Do you say he is selfish because of the apparent lack of interest in you sexually? or is he a selfish guy all around?

    You have to make sure which one it is, because that will allow you to see if this case is tenable or not.

    If he agrees to see a MD for his lack of sexual desire, that will be good. If he refuses, or if the selfishness problems are pervasive, then it is time to jump overboard.

    What you are going through is very common, a lot of women have high sex drives, problem arises when the partner is not on the same level. The other way around is common too, communication between the couple and openness is key.

  6. Dear Em and Lo,
    I grew up believing that girls don’t like sex.
    I’m 46 and still believe that sex to a girl is just a tolerated consequence of consumation even though I’ve been married 16 years and we both really enjoy having regualr sex practically every day.
    Will I ever be convinced that girls like sex or am I doomed to always feeling bad for having a high sex drive?

  7. Questions like this are intriguing. N.N. knew exactly what answer she was going to receive. It’s as if she wrote to Ralph Nader asking whether she should buy a Ford Pinto. But seriously, this also reminds me of someone on a daytime talk show being chastised by the audience for staying with a crappy guy/girl or behaving in a destructive way. They might even smile, ’cause they don’t know how else to respond – and realize they’re going to continue in their errant ways. N.N. could be “looking for an excuse to break up”, but I’m gonna assume that’s not it.

    So, I’ll try to translate her question – “I wanna dump the bum. Why can’t I/How do I? Help!” She’s not a battered wife, but the dilemma is still vexing. “Couples therapy”? Fuck no!(sorry) Individual therapy might give her answers. My amateur ass can only guess that focusing on how happy she was on her own might ease her exit.

    P.S. I took “the most selfish person alive” to refer to more than sex.

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