Planning the Funeral of Lesbian Bed Death

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Dear Dr. Darcy,

This is a final follow-up report to your blog entry of March 3 [linked to here].

I did follow the 0/100 rule, which worked great for the relationship. And I eventually gathered whatever courage and optimism I had left and tried to initiate some sex with my partner, with no pressure and no expectation. And, not surprisingly, she showed zero interest.

I should be used to it by now but I still feel extremely hurt and rejected at times (and pissed-off at her for what I perceive as her total lack of honesty, i.e. saying she's still attracted to me while consistently refusing any sexual intimacy of any kind).

But mostly, I want to move on, with as much compassion as possible.She is not willing or able to do any work to improve the situation. Wewant different things in a relationship at this point…

In a little while, I might try to date other people, while being completely open about my status of course. It seems that living separately would be better, even though selling our house seems so radical (but tempting at times: maybe she will finally understand the extent of the problem...).

Any advice about how to move on and to preserve the love and companionship that remains after the end of any sexual connection?

ANSWER

You can’t have an agenda of both moving on and preserving the relationship – one has to trump the other and the two may prove to be mutually-exclusive. I’m just letting you know the reality so that your expectations can be reasonable.

Furthermore, you can’t unilaterally decide to date other people while living in your home together. Are you kidding me? You’re contemplating ending a 20+ year relationship – but what stands out to you as drastic is selling the house? I’m truly confused.

Rather than trying to understand your thinking, I’m going to simply tell you what to do:

  1. Let her know that you are ending the relationship. Tell her that your intention is to do this with dignity and love.
  2. Inform her that you’ll be moving out (you’ll need to have a place to go that day or shortly thereafter as remaining under the same roof will be torture to you both). Since you want to end the relationship, you’re the one who should be inconvenienced by the decision. If, however, she expresses a desire to move out, allow that.
  3. You’ll need to decide to either sell the house or cover the household expenses yourself. Whatever you decide to do, you need to be in charge of it since you’re pulling the plug on the relationship.
  4. Give your partner a few months to catch her breath before you begin dating other women. It’s the classy thing to do.

That should take you through the summer.  Do this my way and you’ll be happy you did – because it’s the right way to end things. And please keep us apprised of your progress.

Writer’s stats: Female, Lesbian.

Hopeless In California

Dr. Darcy, I've been with my current girlfriend for a year and a half now.  She's a wonderful woman whom I love dearly and plan to marry. The only issue is our sex life. We've never really had much of a sex life and I am the problem.  My desire for sex is just not there. I never initiate anything sexual and as the "butch" one that is a problem. My girlfriend is now angry and resentful that I haven't done anything to fix our problem but quite honestly I don't know how to fix it.  I am on the verge of losing her. I want to fix it but just don't know where to start.  The times I do try and start an intimate encounter, she thinks I am just doing it to appease her and not because I want it.

I am lost and don't know what to do to fix it. I would greatly appreciate any advice.

Regards,

Hopeless in CA

ANSWER

Hang in there – we’re going to fix this.

I’m going to give this to you honestly - and it’s not going to sound sexy or very romantic. And for those of my followers who are hopeless romantics, I’m warning you now: You’re not going to love this post.

Here’s the thing: You don’t necessarily feel like working every day, right? But somehow you manage. The same goes for working out. And once you’re doing it, I’m sure you derive some pleasure from it. We do lots of things that we’re not necessarily initially in the mood for, but we do them anyway and generally, we’re glad we did them.

Having sex – and not having sex, becomes habitual. And your problem is that you’re waiting to feel differently before you act differently – and it’s not working. You can behave your way to a good sexual relationship. Sex attracts more sex. And having sex ups our desire to have sex.

You’ve got to end the cycle of not having sex. Today. And yes, your girlfriend is going to feel like you’re initiating sex to appease her, but you’re not. And that’s not a signal to stop. That’s a signal to reassure her that you’re doing it because you want to have sex, because you love her and because the two of you deserve to have a fulfilling sex life.

Am I making myself clear? I want you to have sex today. Don’t worry about what she thinks, cancel whatever plans you have, and make love to your girlfriend. Today.

Please report back.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Lesbian.

Find A New Shrink – Not A New Partner

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Dear Dr. Darcy,

I am in a long-term (20+) loving, affectionate relationship, with an incurable case of lesbian bed death. No sex (or just a few miserable crumbs) in nearly 7 years, because partner has zero interest in even trying. It started during a rough time in our relationship. We went to [couples counseling], then indiv. therapy, also spent time apart. Relationship improved. Sex never recovered. Couples counseling only helped (me, not her) acknowledge how abandoned and hurt I felt and what a negative impact it had on the rest of the relationship. Partner seems fine with the situation. She keeps saying she’s attracted to me and will initiate something someday somehow. (I long ago gave up initiating, as I know I will face a wall.) It never happens. Then on a regular basis I feel hurt and rejected and express these feelings and my anger, which probably does not help. (But frankly nothing helps.) I don’t want to break up bc of the strong loving connection. I also don’t want to be deprived of any sexual intimacy for many more years to come.

So I am realizing I need to accept that this is what she is like now, instead of going through the same terrible cycle (believing her, hoping, then getting hurt and angry), to “grieve” and move on (not sure how). And I need to start looking for someone willing to be in an open relationship with me (don't know how either), with whom I can share some emotional and sexual connection. Individual therapy helped me realize how stuck and powerless I felt and how extremely painful it was at times but my (straight) therapist did not seem to understand why I’d stay in the relationship (bc of the love and affection and hugs!) and grew very frustrated with me. Any advice? What would YOU do?

ANSWER

I would fire your therapist.

Therapy helped you realize how powerless you feel – that’s great. Did therapy do anything to help empower you, other than to suggest that you jump ship to find a better partner? Don’t even answer that.

This is my problem with therapy. And with therapists. But that’s another blog. Or a book.

We’re going to empower you now to stop looking for a better partner, and instead, to be a better partner.  Of course you don’t want to leave your partner. While sex is a very important part of a committed relationship, it’s not the entire relationship. Hell, “as many as 20 million married Americans aren't getting it on with any regularity,” according to the Huffington Post. This isn’t just a lesbian issue – it’s a long-term relationship issue.

I know you say that she isn’t interested, but logically speaking, if she’s telling you that she’ll initiate (even though she never follows through), it makes sense to me that she’s not disinterested – otherwise she’d just say no. There’s something more complicated going on there…  But nothing that can’t be fixed by focusing on you and your personal power.

So here’s what I want you to do: I want you to become the partner that you wish she was.  I mean really become that partner. Get clear about what you wish the seduction would look like, when it would take place, how it would play out – and for the love of God, stop talking about sex and initiate sex! At least then we’ll have some real data to work with. There’s something called the 0/100% principle (linked to here) and I want you to follow it for 30 days and report back.

What would I do? As a therapist or as a dissatisfied wife? As a therapist, I’d do exactly what I’m telling you to do here. As a dissatisfied wife, I would undoubtedly get sucked into pointing fingers at my beautiful, loving wife until the last thing she’d want to do is have sex with me. Do as I say – not as I’d do.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Lesbian.