Hi Belinda, I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing a disconnect in desire with your partner, but I’m glad to hear that he isn’t trying to make you feel bad about your body, at the very least. It sounds like it would be a good idea for you to talk to a counselor. I’d recommend that you find a counselor you can talk to alone — not a couple’s counselor at this stage — so you can talk entirely uncensored and get an unbiased, expert perspective on the health of your relationship. Counselors can help us sort out our feelings and desires, and counseling was tremendously helpful for me in making sense of my own relationship dissatisfactions.

Moreover, I’d encourage you, specifically, to speak to a counselor who is open to the idea of non-monogamous relationships. Some couples who are otherwise healthy decide to open up their relationships so that the partner whose sexual needs are no longer being met can find satisfaction elsewhere. Sometimes this can work great. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t work well, or it isn’t truly what everyone wants (e.g., a partner who wants a monogamous relationship but is seeking sex elsewhere is still not ultimately meeting their own needs — because one of their personal “needs” is monogamy). As I said, though, find a counselor who isn’t prejudiced towards non-monogamous relationship structures, so that they won’t analyze what you’re telling them with inappropriate bias.

Finally, your partner should perhaps seek counseling as well. If he has an anxiety disorder (e.g., an obsessive-compulsive fear of germs) that is influencing his sex drive and therefore his behavior towards you in ways that make you feel hurt, then it would be the compassionate, caring thing for him to address these anxieties with a professional. I hope he will agree to speak to one. For his sake as well — because he deserves better than to let his anxieties rob him of some of the joys of life! :)

Wishing you both much healing.

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Love, sex, dreams, soul, adventure, healing, feeling. I kinda experience life as magical. Memoir is my jam.

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