Afraid fiancé and I aren’t compatible in bed

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    I (30f) have been with my fiancé (33m) for 3 years now. He’s an amazing man. He’s financially responsible, kind-hearted, he loves to try new things, and he accepts and loves me just the way I am.

    The only thing I would change about him is his attitude and actions toward sex. Our sexual relationship started out like most do- new and fun. But over a few years I think I’ve realized that he doesn’t really “get pleasure” in making sure I’m satisfied. We’ve had many talks about this over the past several months and it’s still be difficult.

    For example, I’m currently averaging one orgasm a year with him and he doesn’t seem concerned. When it happened for the first time with him I felt so happy. Tonight I asked him if he remembered the first time it happened (because at the time I told him it had happened and I was excited) and he honestly couldn’t even remember. He didn’t know where we were, what month it occurred, nothing.

    Also, tonight he started initiating sex and I asked in a flirty way “What do you want?” and he matter-of-factly said “For you to get me off.” I was honestly turned off by this answer because I feel like that’s ALL that I do!! If he had said “I want to get you off,” I would’ve been ecstatic.

    He has tried to make some changes here and there- which is great. I can tell he’s making an effort. But it honestly feels like I’m watching him complete a chore. He says he enjoys it, and maybe he does, but I’m not sure that it excites him. I think he just wants to appease me and sort of check off a box on the to-do list. I don’t feel particularly desired.

    I’m worried because I love him so much and I really do want to marry him, but I’m starting to realize our compatibility issues in the bedroom.

    I’ll take any advice.


    Hello Dreaming 715,

    You’ve only been together for three years and already this is a problem for you.  This kind hearted man has no interest in pleasing you sexually – quite the reverse – he just wants himself pleased and your interpretation is that he doesn’t desire you.  How much affection is there between you outside the bedroom?  I don’t believe a person can change his personality along with his clothes.  I think you need to take a closer look at your whole relationship.

    You could obtain some books that you can both read or perhaps you would consider talking to a sex therapist.  I would advise putting any marriage plans on hold until you’ve reached an acceptable level of compatibility in the bedroom department.

    I hope it works out for you.




    Have you checked out Esther Perel?  She is a therapist, author,  She has a TED talk on The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship.  Start with that.  She has a best selling book, “Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence” which expands on her talk.

    I wonder if your fiance is a considerate man in general.  Does he look to please you in other areas?  Or is he self centered outside the bedroom as well?  It sounds like he really does not care about you.

    I am sure there are methods and ways to get him to pleasure you, e.g. have “only you pleasure night” which means that the sole point and focus of sex is getting you off and you do nothing, you only be the receiver and he is only the giver. When you say one of things you like about him is that he tries new things, it sounds like that it does not apply to sex  Even if you two take turns, I would think that approach won’t last long if he ever agrees to it.  If he is not really motivated in pleasing you, which is a manifestation of showing love for you then he won’t do that.

    People show their love in different ways (check out the Five Languages of Love).   If he is really the loving, kind-hearted man that you say he is then he would do things that would please you rather than doing it reluctantly, as a chore.  He sounds like he is not really in tune with you (ex. he did not remember that time when you felt so happy).  That does not make him a “bad” person but I wonder if he is the right match for you, matching how you are and how you desire and how you want to be desired.



    Dear dreaming715:

    First, history: your relationship with your fiancé began in June 2016. You posted about him July 31, 2016: “I’m not technically in a ‘relationship’ (i.e. boyfriend/ girlfriend), but I’ve been seeing a guy (I’ll call him ‘M’) for the past 6 and a half weeks.. I met M on a dating site.. he said he’s looking for a girlfriend and long term relationship… His communication in between dates has slowed down a lot… we’ve never had a conversation over the phone that wasn’t about meeting/ logistics. He’s never articulated how he’s felt about me… he doesn’t seem as eager t talk to me… I don’t know if this is normal dating  behavior?”

    August 2016 you wrote: “We got food the other night and he ordered potato wedges and I ordered fries. The fries were not great and I commented, ‘You had the right idea to get the potato wedges’, and he didn’t say anything. I think I expected him to be like ‘Have some of mine!’… Also, when I spend the night he.. just says “All right… Think it’s time to get some sleep’ and rolls over.”

    September 2016 you wrote: “He’s very reserved and admitted he’s uncomfortable about talking about things that are ‘very deep’. He said it makes him feel emotionally exhausted to have long discussions about these type of things. For example, last night I casually asked if he had been in love before. He quickly said, ‘yes.’. He dud not offer any more information… He did not ask me if I’ve ever been in love. He honestly seemed uncomfortable so I dropped it and we started talking about a much different, lighter topic”.

    November 2016, you wrote: “sometimes I wonder if he falls into the spectrum of having high-functioning Asperger’s Syndrome? if this is the case it may explain a lot and help me to better understand him and our relationship.. I  just want to educate myself on how to better communicate with him in general… He is not very expressive with his mannerisms. His facial expressions are not very expressive and his tone of voice is generally monotone.. he sometimes gets confused during small talk… the intention of the question has to be explained sometimes… He’s very reserved. Very, very, very reserved… If we talk about feelings.. he gets physically uncomfortable, gets straight to the point, and then changes the subject within minutes… He does not usually engage in conversation or ask questions”.

    April 2017, you wrote: “he feels very uncomfortable talking about ‘deep conversations.. He gives short responses and does not ask me any questions. In our 10 months of dating he has only said he loved me once completely out of the blue. He does say he loves me, but it’s only when we are hugging good-bye… he does not flirt in text… rarely calls me names like ‘hun’ or ‘babe’.. I was attempting to flirt with him.. it wasn’t acknowledged or reciprocated… He said he grew-up in a family that didn’t have deep conversations”.

    October 2018, you wrote: “I love him very much though and he’s extremely giving in other areas of our relationship. He’s also loyal, kind, accepting, funny, patient, and understanding”.

    My input today: I think you were correct Nov 2016, two years and eight months ago when you considered that he is on the autism spectrum. I think he is indeed “on the spectrum”,  emotionally shut down, and is at a loss in social interactions when non-concrete topics are discussed or otherwise communicated to him. He has a difficulty with abstract topics such as emotions and relationships. He is uncomfortable in such conversations because he is at a loss, he gets confused and is unable to process the information presented to him, so he changes the subject quickly to concrete topics.

    When you flirted with him on text, it wasn’t concrete for him so he didn’t understand you were flirting with him. Then you told him that you were flirting with him and he flirted back. He needed to be told clearly what is going on, he needs concrete information, nothing that may have double meaning, or a hidden meaning.

    He didn’t tell you randomly that he loves you but told you so when hugging goodbye, because the ending of  a date was a sign for him that saying I-love-you was appropriate. Otherwise, he doesn’t know when would be the right time. Therefore, he is not spontaneous and is incapable of being spontaneous, pretty much.

    When you expressed to him in a restaurant that you didn’t like the fries you ordered, you expected him to offer you his potato wedges, but the idea didn’t occur to him, he didn’t make the connection. If you said to him: can I have some of your potato wedges, that would have been concrete for him and he would have offered you his potatoes.

    You have to be very concrete in your communication with him, tell him what it is, no double or hidden meanings. Make sure that what you say to him has only one meaning and that the meaning is not hidden or abstract.

    Sexually, he behaves just like he does during conversations about emotions, keeping it short and concrete. When you ask him to please you, he does, but you will have to ask him every time and be exact, then let him know he is doing a good job. If you understand that he is doing his best, and that this is all you get, you may be okay with it and enjoy it more.

    Maybe you can see a professional consultant or counselor who can guide you further regarding communicating with a person on the spectrum. I know of a woman who says she is happily married to a man on the spectrum, who is, like your fiancé, very smart in concrete matters, has a great job that has to do with computer coding. She communicates with him concretely and it works very well for her.




    Dear Dreaming715:

    It’s been a long time since your last post and a whole pandemic ago. I wonder how you are doing, hoping to read from you again.



    Dear Dreaming715:

    I am wondering… is there any chance that you are still around here, reading this?



    Dear Dreamer715/ Reader:

    I don’t read books anymore,and I don’t read non-fiction biographies because they are too edited, re-edited and polished. On the other hand, when a member in these forums shares their life story as it develops, it gives me a unique opportunity to read an unedited story and to learn something from it.

    Dreaming715: you shared your story over 57 threads, from February 2016 (age 27) all the way to July 2019 (age 30). Your grammar and spelling are perfect, as far as I can tell. I came across one typo once, that is all. Your use of lthe angauge is precise, skillful, disciplined. At one point you shared that you tried to publish your poems. I am not surprised that you have a great interest in professional writing.

    In this first post, I will go over what you shared in your many thread, your words are in boldfaced.

    In February 2016, you shared that you met a man several months before, a medical doctor half way through his residency, “I fell extremely hard for this person. He absolutely captivated me and made me feel excited about life again. He made me feel special and wanted“. Two months into the relationship, “he started to withdraw“, and eventually the relationship ended.

    I was just too head-over-heels and created something wishful in my mind that wasn’t really there… But here’s the reality: He doesn’t have feelings for me, he doesn’t want to see or talk to me, he doesn’t even want to respond to tell me he doesn’t want to see or talk to me… He’s literally indifferent to me. The past 7 months and time we spent together have meant NOTHING to him… This is possibly one of the most hurtful, one-sided experiences so far in my life“.

    In March 2016, you shared that after you mailed him a few things that he left in your apartment, and a polite letter that you wrote for him, he contacted you and asked to meet you for coffee. You agreed, but he canceled shortly before the meeting. Some days later, he texted you and suggested to have dinner together. “I should have declined. I should have ended it right there, but I didn’t. I had this fantasy in my mind that something between us was going to shift and he’d ‘proclaim’ how he really wanted to be with me“.

    During dinner he told you that he wanted to be single, and he said: “I think you maybe liked me more than I liked you“. You reflected later: “A rational person would probably hear this statement and be done with the person. Apparently, I’m not a rational person- I’m a desperate one. After hearing this I STILL made the decision to go back to his place with him after dinner. I STILL made the decision to be physically intimate with him even though there was no emotion there on his end (which kind of broke my heart even more)“.

    In May 2016, you wrote to me: “Anita: To this day, I STILL think about that post you wrote me! I’ve done a lot more critical thinking while talking to men and it has helped. I feel I’m more familiar now with signs that they aren’t interested (or if they’re saying extravagant things during the first or second time I meet them- that’s a red flag“.

    In June 2016, you shared that you met another man (you will later refer to him as “M”) through an online dating site, talked on the phone and “We decided to meet for coffee, which turned into a 10-hour long day together… He’s been texting me every single day… at first, I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high because I had lots of heartbreak in the past, I thought things like, ‘This might be too good to be true‘”… but before the second date, “naturally, his communication has taken a nosedive. I’ve barely heard from him“.

    Five days later, you wrote: “I think I did ‘jump the gun’ a little. He did end up texting me and we’ve actually hung out a few more times since that post. Things have actually continued to go relatively smoothly as we’ve continued to get to know each other. I think my insecurities got the best of me“.

    In a reply to you, I wrote: “This reminds me what my then therapist explained to me. He said two people are not always as close to each other; there is always motion: moving closer and away. Like planets he said. It makes sense as everything in motion, from electrons, atoms to planets. So, it must be with people too, always moving and that includes moving closer and away, closer and away”. You responded: “I’ve never thought of it from this perspective before. I’ll keep this in mind!

    In July – August 2016, you shared about M: “I’m not technically in a ‘relationship’ (i.e. boyfriend/girlfriend), but I’ve been seeing a guy (I’ll call him ‘M’) for the past 6 and a half weeks… The first 5 weeks of us dating were great. He was consistent with keeping in contact with me between dates… I’ve met his younger sister and about 10 of his friends in social settings, and he did a few small things like give me a toothbrush/contact lens case to keep at his place… his communication in between dates has slowed down a lot“.

    I wrote to you at the time: “Maybe the pattern we mentioned in other threads is that you take yourself out of the equation of the relationship, as if you are a neutral party to it, not one to choose or judge. It is all up to him- he makes the rules, you neutrally wait for him”. You responded: “This is so spot-on. I was nodding my head while reading that statement. I think I also make new relationships too much of a priority and I stop doing things I enjoy (examples: yoga, painting, writing, cooking, trying new classes)“.

    Shortly afterwards, still in August 2016, he asked you how you would feel about him introducing you as his girlfriend from then on. You agreed, feeling “relieved, happy, excited, and even flattered because he’s someone I’ve grown really fond of“. You shared that he was emotionally reserved, something you didn’t like.

    In September 2016, you shared that M, your 3-months long boyfriend, was “very reserved” and “hot and cold“. You shared that you were living with two female friends/roommates, both in years-long relationships, and that you resented them. You were discouraged at the time: “I am not close with my extended and immediate family… estranged from my biological mother due to her lifelong drug problems, habit of disappearing from my life, and borderline abusive behavior… I used to pride myself on being kind to others, being a 100% emotionally and physically faithful in relationships… where did this get me? Nowhere… I feel like I don’t care anymore. I used to believe in karma. I no longer believe in that because it’s not adding up… when I try and practice a positive ‘good’ way of living, I get bad results. So what’s the point?“. At the time, you were considering moving “across the country to California and starting over“.

    In October 2016, you shared that you told your mother that you don’t want to talk to her again. You shared that she had a drug problem ever since you were 3, that your father divorced her and got full custody of you, that she went to prison and when released, she was in and out of your life. She stole your college and birthdays money, and recently (2016), she and her husband had new drug charges filed against them.

    In November 2016, you shared that you suspected that M, your boyfriend of 5 months, a Chartered Financial Analyst,  suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, being emotionally unexpressive and very reserved.

    In December 2016, you shared that you (28) were afraid that M (31) will leave you. You shared that he is “thoughtful, kind, patient and extremely receptive” to your concerns, but you were anxious about not being good enough for him: not interesting enough, not making enough money to afford exotic vacation, etc. In my reply to you I wrote that your inherent worth does not require any action on your part. Your response: “I forget that me just being me is enough. I feel like I have to have impressive accomplishments under my belt, I have to live my life in a certain way, I have to attain certain possessions (a nice car, a nice apartment, etc..) Thank you for the reminder. I’m going to focus on that tonight when I do a little meditating“.

    In February 2017, you shared that you were jealous of your roommate/friend because she just accepted a new job that would pay her $20,000 more than your job pays (you were working full time from home), she was moving into a luxury apartment building with her boyfriend and bought an expensive bedroom set for her new place, while your boyfriend was not ready to live with you, you were moving alone to a studio apartment and had to finance buying a sofa for your small place: “I’ve been working hard. I graduated college. I work hard at my job. I’m applying for higher paying jobs. I understand my boyfriend isn’t ready to move in and I have to respect that. I’m just so unbelievably frustrated right now. Just once I want to have that amazing, happy feeling of ‘This is exactly what I’ve been wishing for’“.

    In March 2017, you shared that you’ve been dating M for nine months: “We’ve been taking it slow. I’m trying to stay present and focus on enjoying what we have, as opposed to thinking ‘We should move in together’, ‘We should be talking about marriage’“. You shared that you’ve been living alone for the first time in your life, having moved alone into your studio apartement the month before, and that spending so much time alone, your anxiety increased, and sometimes depression as well.

    In April 2017, you complained about M: that he didn’t tell you that he loved you at random times, that he didn’t like having deep conversations, that he didn’t flirt with you when texting, etc. , and added, “I love my boyfriend and I am terrified that he will leave me“. You also shared that after making the decision to no longer talk to your mother back in October 2016, you didn’t talk to her  and she made no efforts to reconcile. You also shared that your younger brother was an active drug addict and that you were afraid for his life, being that he previously went into respiratory arrest following a near-fatal overdose.

    In May 2017, you shared that your heroin addicted younger brother has been charged with 2 felonies after being caught with possession of meth, and that he was homeless and jobless. You were very concerned about him.

    In June- July 2017, you shared that you were still heartbroken over a five-year relationship that ended 2.5 years earlier (2014), with a man with whom you lived for 4 years and were engaged to. He cancelled the wedding after you purchased a wedding dress and after a deposit was put down on a wedding venue.

    You shared that it was soon to be the one-year anniversary of your relationship with M, and that the two of you will be meeting each other’s family for the first time the following weekend, but you were unhappy with the pace of the relationship, thinking that you should have met each other’s family six months earlier. You were upset about him using the pronoun “I” instead of “we” when telling others about activities you and him did together.

    You also shared: “from the time I was a baby until now, my mother routinely abandoned me… disappear for days, weeks or months at a time… It is actually comforting to think that maybe the only purpose my mom served for me was bringing me into the world. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t know why I find comfort in that. Maybe it’s because it takes unrealistic expectations off of her. I know she’s never going to turn around and be mother of the year. She’s simply a biological component in my life“.

    I often deal with my fear of abandonment by self-soothing in negative ways. Examples: Overeating unhealthy food, seeking human connection through promiscuity, and…  staying out late and drinking with friends. While I don’t think these have severely de-railed my life, they do often make me feel bad and I should instead seek out healthier ways of coping. For example: yoga, writing, meditation, cooking healthy recipes, socializing without always drinking, etc.”.

    When I get insecure, I actually LOOK for “signs” that my boyfriend might want to leave me… I asked if he ever thought about us moving in together (even though we decided we would when my lease was up). I wanted reassurance. His answer was a very literal and to-the-point ‘sometimes.’ This answer wasn’t good enough to me because it showed no excitement. I told him this and he said, ‘Well I’m telling you the truth! We already talked about moving in together. I asked what our budget would be. I even looked at a few places online‘”.

    In August 2017, you shared: “I’m 28-years-old and every year of my life has seemingly gotten ‘worse.’ I know this is a dramatic thing to say, but hear me out. The high point of my life was from 18-23 (college years). Even though I was balancing a rigorous schedule and a part time job and completely broke- I was so HAPPY. Since then, I have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, gone through a major break-up (a broken engagement), been stuck in a job for 4 years and every interview elsewhere has ended in being declined, I currently live alone… I’m broke. No savings, no retirement fund, nothing…. I have been in a relationship for a year and I love my current boyfriend very much. He honestly has kept me going and encouraged me a lot. I’m afraid of losing him every day, but while we’re in each other’s lives, I’m thankful. I’m trying to find a counselor again. Just feeling lost and sad about my current circumstances“.

    In September 2017, you shared: “I’ve been with my boyfriend for 1 year and 3 months and we are planning on moving in together when my apartment lease is up in 5 months. We have something really great going on, except I have a crippling fear that I’ll lose everything. I have abandonment issues that stem from childhood and I also have self-esteem issues. While I’m currently working on these, they still have their grip on me from time to time“.

    In early October 2017, in a thread titled Is this a huge red flag?, your original post in its entirety was: “I’ve been with my current boyfriend (he’s 32/male, I’m 28/female) for 1 year and 4 months. He told me a few months ago that he wanted to take the next step in our relationship and asked if I’d be interested in moving in together when my lease was up. We love each other and things are moving in a great direction, but there’s one thing.

    So he’s always been very independent and more on the logical vs. emotional end of the spectrum. We live a 15 minute walk from each other and only see each other about 4 out of 7 days of the week (on the days we don’t see each other we text). We usually spend Saturday night together (SOMETIMES Friday).

    I love him a lot and could spend time with him every single day. He has openly said there are nights where he does just want to be alone. Or last Friday neither of us had anything going on and I asked if he’d like company or to have a night to himself and he said a night to himself.

    Tonight I asked him if he ever feels lonely or just really wants more time together or if he ever thinks ‘I wish my girlfriend was sleeping next to me right now.’ He kind of admitted that’s he’s content with seeing me during the day and not necessarily spending the night together because he just sleeps better in his bed alone (but he’s willing to adjust this because he wants to move in with me and has never lived with a significant other before).

    I’ll be honest, I know he loves me deep down, but it’s a major buzzkill to essentially hear your boyfriend say he could take or leave sleeping beside you/your company.

    I believe he loves me and we’ve gotten closer the longer we’re together, but at this moment in time I don’t feel particularly ‘desired’ and ‘wanted’ on an emotional level after hearing that.

    What are other people’s thoughts?

    My reply to you at the time was: “no, this is not a red flag, not a small red flag and not a huge red flag. He is honest and straightforward about how he feels, what is comfortable for him, and what is not. This is a … huge white flag to me. When you move in together, over time, he may very well adjust to spending more time and more nights with you”.

    You did not post again on that thread, but 4 days later, still in early October 2017, you shared this in your original post: “It’s officially been one year since I talked to my mom (and I technically haven’t seen her in a year and a half). I told her I didn’t want to be in contact anymore after 28 years of her emotional abuse, neglect, and off and on abandonment.

    I think she may actually feel relieved that I told her I didn’t want to talk to her anymore. She hasn’t reached out to me to reconcile or apologize, which hurts, but I think being estranged is the healthiest choice.

    Sometimes I wish I had a mom though. One that would call me up, want to do ‘mother/daughter’ stuff, etc…

    My best friend gets happy hour appetizers every Wednesday after work with her mom. My boyfriend’s mom and sister are very close… I’ve never… ever experienced that. None of it. I feel very ‘alone’ in a sense. Just needed to vent a little and air the sadness I’m feeling“.

    In late October 2017, you shared in a thread titled Severe depression and upcoming birthday: “I’m currently seeing a therapist for several issues: depression, anxiety, childhood trauma, and abandonment issues.

    In 10 days it’ll be my 29th birthday and while I want to feel grateful and excited, I feel like I’m looking at life through a dark, dense cloud right now. A part of me isn’t sure what’s worth celebrating. I’ll be rounding out the last year of my 20s without the promotion at work I was hoping for, not engaged, not married, not a home owner, not a pet owner, and not a parent. Sometimes I wonder if I’m contributing to society or anyone’s life in a truly meaningful way.

    I do have a boyfriend and we are planning to move in together in 4 months when my apartment lease is up. We love each other, but he’s so independent that inside I feel I wouldn’t be a significant loss to him… I’ll admit if my boyfriend (we’ve been together for 1 year and 4 months) started talking about our future and potentially getting married someday I’d probably feel a little more ‘excited’ or ‘hopeful’ about the future because it would mean there are doors of opportunity ahead of me. We may get married. We may get a dog together. We may move to a new city that we love. We may want a family together someday“.

    In late November 2017, you shared in a thread titled ‘Object constancy’ issues in my relationship (following is the entirety of your original post):

    I’m a 29-year-old female and have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half now. I’m currently in therapy for childhood trauma and abandonment issues. One of the things I’ve struggled with is object constancy. Object constancy is a developmental skill toddlers and young children learn. When they’re separated from their parent/guardian, they eventually develop a sense that even though that person isn’t in sight, they are still there and they can depend on their return. Since I had severe abandonment issues as a young child (my mom frequently leaving without warning and being left alone for periods of time, etc…), I have issues with object constancy.

    What I’m dealing with is the inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of my immediate field of vision. I think their absence is a sign that they’re going to leave or that they don’t love me anymore.

    So, how is this affecting my relationship with my boyfriend? If he doesn’t initiate a good morning text or initiate a text later in the day I start to get anxious that he’s losing interest in me or it’s a sign that he’ll leave me. I try to remind myself that he tells me he loves me, that we have plans to move in together in three months when my current lease is up, and that he just booked a vacation with me two months from now.

    I HATE having issues with object constancy. It feels like my brain is broken and it doesn’t understand that someone can love you AND not be in constant physical or verbal communication with you.

    Someone please help =(. I could use any tips, insight, or encouraging words on how to overcome or cope with this“.

    In December 2017, you shared that your heroine addicted and severely depressed younger brother was in jail for drug related charges. You were planning to visit him in jail on Christmas Eve, but he lost his visitation rights after getting into a fight with another inmate. You were very supportive of him, and very concerned.

    In January 2018, in a thread titled My self worth is depleted after a broken engagement, you shared again about your 5 year relationship that ended with a cancelled wedding three years earlier. You ended your original post with this question: “In a world of wealth, models, people with exceptional health, exceptional talents in art, etc… how can I possibly feel like I’m good enough?

    In early March 2018, you shared that 10 years earlier, at 19, you moved four hours away from your hometown where your parents, step parents and four younger half siblings still lived. You shared that you were still estranged from your abusive biological mother, that your father and step mother never called you and only texted you on your birthday, that they never saw your first apartment, never offered to help with moving, that you visited them, they never visited you: “I recently went on vacation to Miami for the first time with my boyfriend, as a parent wouldn’t you be interested in hearing about the trip?… Or ask how their job is going? Or randomly check-in because you haven’t heard from your child in three weeks and maybe want to make sure they’re alive?… I think even though I’m an adult, deep down my younger self is still looking for validation, love, and reassurance from them. And I think they view me as a capable adult who doesn’t need those ‘childhood’ things anymore“.

    In late March, you shared that you were living with M. You posted the following in a thread titled Long-term boyfriend and I not on the same page with settling down: “I’m a 29-year-old female and my close friends are all either 1) engaged 2) married or 3) have kids. I’ve been with my 32-year-old boyfriend for about 2 years now and we moved in together a couple of months ago. Everything is going well, but I don’t feel like we’re quite on the same page of life yet.

    He said he is committed to a future with me and wants to get married, but not yet. He wants to enjoy our new apartment together and just live life for awhile… I asked my boyfriend about getting a dog together and he said he would like that, but again not quite yet“.

    In April 2018, you shared that you didn’t see your father since Christmas and that you talked to him only once since because he said that he was so busy with work. Unrelated, you suggested  to your best friend to meet for dinner or brunch and she said that she was busy, “If I didn’t initiate plans with my friends, we would literally only see each other once or twice a year. I’m feeling a little resentful… I don’t know if I see the point in sustaining relationships where I always have to initiate contact anymore. I also often fantasize about moving to the other side of the country and ‘starting over.’ I kind of just want to get away from all of these people because I often feel lonely and hurt”.

    Still in April, you shared in another thread titled I can’t stop crying: “I love my boyfriend more than I can describe, but he is not ready to get married ‘yet.’ We’ve been fighting a lot lately about me pressuring him. Whenever we get into a fight he says ‘Ok, do you want to go look at rings?’ to appease me so I’ll stop talking about it. I tell him I only want us to do that when we’re happy, not in an emotionally unhappy state.

    Tonight when I told him my best friend got engaged he said, ‘Are you okay? Do you want to go look at rings?’ I calmly told him I’d like him to do it on his own, unprompted, out of genuine love and wanting to do it. The he said, ‘Alright, well dont say I never ask you.’ He said it not in a loving tone, but like he just wanted to get ahead of me so he could check off an ‘I brought up something marriage related’ box. (He did later admit this was true.)

    He’s told me many times to just trust that he’ll eventually get there and enjoy what we currently have together… I’ve waited my whole life to experience this with the person I love and am committed to. I want to start our ‘official forever’… I want to be married and experience everything that comes along with it more than I can describe, but now can I just be happy with being on a normal cohabitated relationship?

    In late May 2018, you shared that you and M were not yet engaged, that you’ve been talking about getting married sometime in the near future, and you asked the reader, parpahrased: how can I trust my boyriend to marry me when my ex of five years, with whom I lived for 4 years, told me that he loved me, proposed marriage and then cancelled it?

    In June 2018, you shared: “I’m a female and I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2 years. We currently live together and have met each other’s families. He’s 32 and I’ll be turning 30 in several months.

    I love him very much, I feel that we’re compatible and have the same values.

    Our issue is that I want to get married and he doesn’t want to get married yet. He says ‘I’m the person he wants to marry… he just doesn’t want to yet.’

    This subject has caused us so much pain… to the point where now there’s resentment. I told him that I’m trying to understand his need to wait, but it honestly feels like ‘a slap in the face.’ If he’s so sure about me like he says, then why wouldn’t he be more excited to marry me?’… From a cultural stand-point all of my close friends are now engaged or married. Even my sister who is 5 years younger than me is getting married in 3 weeks and I’ll be the ‘oldest’ sister standing up in the wedding without a true commitment to my relationship with my boyfriend (i.e. an engagement)… My biological clock is ticking… I’m unhappy because we have no plans to get married (and quite frankly whenever I bring it up I see the frown on my boyfriend’s face, the forced conversation, and the promises he makes just to keep me happy… I feel so sad that my boyfriend looks at me and is content with just calling me his girlfriend and I’m not someone he’s jumping at the opportunity to marry because he’s so excited about a future with me.

    Maybe all of the talk and pressure is making him not excited for a future with me.

    I feel like withdrawing and emotionally “checking out” of the marriage stuff. He said he wanted to take me to look at rings on Sunday… but it doesn’t feel natural. It feels forced and he doesn’t have passion and excitement behind it. It’s almost like a chore so he can check it off the list to keep me off his back.

    I can’t win in this situation. There are only two viable options: 1) Accept that I’m not getting married anytime in the near future and wait OR 2) Leave him… and 2) isn’t an option. I don’t want to leave him because I love him very much and have invested in our relationship.

    So this brings us back to acceptance. I’m going to be 30. I’m not going to get proposed to or married anytime in the near future. It’s important to me, but it’s also important to him to wait until he’s ready (whenever that would be) and for me to stop pressuring him“.

    In July 2018, you shared that you had four close friends but they were too busy to meet with you: busy with their work, marriages, home ownership and kids. You added: “I have an extremely loving boyfriend who loves to go out and do things and we’re planning on getting a puppy this fall. I think the puppy will really help ease the loneliness.

    Honestly, hitting 30 is a tricky age because for me it feels like all your old friends are too busy and making new friends is super hard because they’re all too busy too… My counselor said to join a group that meets regularly (like a yoga class or book club) and getting a pet will also be helpful“.

    In August 2018, you shared: “I’m a 29-year-old female and I’m struggling with never feeling good enough. What I mean by that is I feel I could always look more attractive, be more successful, be more creative, be more social, etc… I wish any of my poems had gotten published, but they haven’t and I’ve kind of given up on that. I always dreamed about what it would be like to tell people a poem I wrote had gotten published in The New Yorker…. I’m lucky I have a boyfriend who says I’m ‘great’ and I am ‘enough,’ but I don’t want him to just have a girlfriend like that.

    I want him to be with someone who has huge achievements, like: published writing, a high earning career, a highly advanced yoga practice, someone who volunteers every single week, and someone who looks amazing (and isn’t constantly trying to lose a stubborn 15-20 lbs)“.

    In September 2018, in a thread titled I never feel “good enough”, you shared: “I’m a 29-year old female and have been with my 33-year-old boyfriend for 2 years. We live together and I have an issue. I have severe abandonment issues from adolescents and I’d love to hear how to resolve feeling jealous of my boyfriend’s friends. Yes, it’s that ridiculous and bad. I got jealous this weekend because…  he wanted to leave on the afternoon on Sunday and go to his friend’s house to play video games and then watch a football game… I have this unrealistic ‘romantic’ idea that my boyfriend would be like ‘I just love you so much that I want to spend every second of this weekend with you because our time together is that important to me.’

    I feel like in the heat of the moment my brain starts not making sense and it’s convinced that he’s leaving because his friends are more fun to hangout with in general and that it’ll happen more and more to the point where every single weekend we’re working our schedules around what his friends are doing“.

    In October 2018, in a thread titled Female frustrated with bf in the bedroom, you shared: “I’m a female (29) and I’ve been with my boyfriend (33) for a little over 2 years. We live together and overall things have been going great, except I’ve identified an issue in our “intimacy”/private life. I think I’m a very giving person… possibly too giving. I don’t think he’s been very reciprocal… I also feel very hurt when I initiate and am turned down. He usually says he’s tired… I love him very much though and he’s extremely giving in other areas of our relationship. He’s also loyal, kind, accepting, funny, patient, and understanding“.

    I asked you or suggested that you located this problem recently, and you responded: “you’re correct Anita, this is a fairly recent thing“.

    Later in October, in a thread titled My mom is a pathological liar, you shared: “… She also lied about other things, mainly her substance abuse issues… lies about my brother… her money situation… literally everything. I feel in shock because I don’t know even know for sure what was true and what wasn’t while I was growing up. I feel like our whole relationship was one big a lie and I don’t actually ‘know’ who she is.

    To be honest this all has contributed to my trust issues and it’s made me question my own reality. When you think something is a certain way for years only to find out it wasn’t real it kind of messes with you.

    What honestly gives me chills is how believable she was and how ‘honest’ she sounded all those years. All the while I didn’t know she was lying straight to my face“.

    In November 2018, you shared in a thread titled No physical intimacy on my birthday: “It was my 30th birthday yesterday (female) and my fiancé who I recently became engaged to (male/33) were not physically intimate on my birthday… like at all. We’ve been together for about 2 and a half years and while he did plan a very beautiful elaborate birthday celebration for me last weekend, I’m honestly feeling hurt that we didn’t have sex on my actual birthday. We actually both had the day off, slept in, I got my nails done, he went to the gym, and then we got dinner… so I was shocked when we were getting ready for bed and he just said ‘Well, good night!’

    I feel guilty because he’s been amazing in so many other ways, but we do have our moments in the bedroom. I told him I felt disappointed he didn’t initiate anything with me today and he said ‘Oh! I wasn’t sure if you wanted to- we can do it right now?’ But the feeling wasn’t there for me. I just felt hurt. I told him this and said that special occasions like birthdays I would really like us to make an effort to be physically intimate with each other and he agreed“.

    In January 2019, you shared that M, your fiance, with whom you were in a 2.5 years relationship, was watching a lot of basketball games of the Bucks (an American basketball team) on  TV. You wrote: “I’m starting to feel like our relationship isn’t a high priority and have joked to him a couple of times that I wished he got as excited about me as he does about the Bucks. Also if a game is on and I start talking to him he’ll be half listening and half watching the game and then a big play will happen and he’ll say ‘Sorry! That was a huge play! What were you saying?’

    We talked and he said he’ll start to watch less games and cut it down to maybe two games per week, but even this seems to make him sad“.

    In May 2019, you shared about M being a huge fan of Phish, an American rock band: “My fiancé and I have been together for 3 years and will be getting married next year. He’s loyal, patient, loving, and supportive (both emotionally and financially in our relationship)… recently I noticed several months back that my fiancé tweeted on the day that he proposed to me: ‘I took my gf to her first Phish show last night. She liked it, but said her favorite song was ‘If I Could.’ Don’t know if I should be impressed or sad.’ (Sad meaning disappointed.) I asked him what he meant and he was apologetic and said it was a bad attempt at a joke amongst his fellow Phish friends. Apparently he thought I may have had bad taste in their songs… I’m still hurt and a little angry about this because this is the first time I feel like he directed something kind of mean-spirited toward me.. Am I overeacting? He apologized and deleted the tweet… but I do think he was feeling cheeky and intended to make fun of me”. 

    Four days later, you posted: “After several days and a few discussions with him, I’ve concluded that I did blow it out of proportion. He is a great guy… I’m currently in therapy for childhood trauma and abandonment issues and have an estranged relationship with my drug addicted mom… I think all of that mixed with a dose of anxiety and depression has led to fear-based responses and being overreactive. It’s a good thing that I actually have a therapy appointment today“.

    A day after the post above, you shared that on two different occasions you found out that while you were away from the apartment (exercising at one time and shopping at another), M watched porn and masturbated. You were upset, thinking that he preferred watching porn over being with you, “He says it means nothing, and it’s just an easy and quick release… there’s less physical activity involved, and there’s no pressure to perform… He said it’s like a habit he’s had since he was a teenager“.

    In July 22, 2019, you posted for the last time- here in this thread titled Afraid fiance and I aren’t compatible in bed: “I (30f) have been with my fiancé (33m) for 3 years now. He’s an amazing man. He’s financially responsible, kind-hearted, he loves to try new things, and he accepts and loves me just the way I am.

    The only thing I would change about him is his attitude and actions toward sex. Our sexual relationship started out like most do- new and fun. But over a few years I think I’ve realized that he doesn’t really “get pleasure” in making sure I’m satisfied. We’ve had many talks about this over the past several months and it’s still be difficult…. He has tried to make some changes here and there- which is great. I can tell he’s making an effort. But it honestly feels like I’m watching him complete a chore. He says he enjoys it, and maybe he does, but I’m not sure that it excites him…I’m worried because I love him so much and I really do want to marry him, but I’m starting to realize our compatibility issues in the bedroom.”

    – Next post, in a day or two.




    Dear Dreaming/ Reader:

    In February 2016, at the age of 27, a certain man made you feel “special and wanted” and “excited about life”. A girl growing up unspecial and unwanted- as you have-  feels so very hurt and lost. Fast forward, the girl is a woman and a man wants her and treats her special, and she gets excited about llife, falling “extremely hard for this person”.

    He then withdrew. You wrote: “I created something wishful in my mind that… wasn’t really there.. Here’s the reality: he doesn’t have any feelings for me”, but a month later, when he asked you for coffee, your wishful creation, that is, Fantasy took over your mind and body once again, and you agreed to meet him, dressing up nicely, putting on your makeup…  but he cancelled. He then contacted you again, asking you to go to dinner with him, and you agreed and prepared again, “having this fantasy in my mind that… he’d ‘proclaim’ how he really wanted to be with me”. During dinner he proclaimed not that he wanted to be with you, but that he wanted to remain single. But your fantasy was still in possession of your mind and body and you agreed to go to his place after dinner and sleep with him that night.

    You mentioned that he was a medical doctor, and later, that you thought that his profession is prestigious. I remember that when I was young, my self esteem was very low. But if a man who was not esteemed by societal standards (good looks, lots of money, high educational degrees, prestigious job, etc.) valued me, it didn’t mean anything to me because  I did not value him=> I did not value his expressed value of me.

    Lots of people with a low self esteem are judgmental of other people, unlike people with high self esteem, and it is not surprising: without self-esteem, how can a person have esteem for other people? A person with no self esteem tends to esteem external things like looks and money…  not people.

    Fast forward, I now value people for their honesty and kindness toward others, not for their jobs, money, etc.

    As to the nature of falling in love: it’s different for a woman who grew up as an unvalued, unwanted child than it is for a woman who grew up valued and wanted. The first’s falling-in-love experience is predominantly about this intoxicating Finally-I am-Valued feeling, a long waited feeling. The second’s falling-in-love experience- I imagine- is about exciting sex and the longing to have a family with the man. More about self esteem and falling in love, later.

    In June 2016, Dreaming, you met another man, M(a financial advisor, a prestigious enough profession). M was very attentive to you and you thought: “this might be too good to be true” – a girl growing up unattented to, at least, not positively attended to, unwanted and not special, suffers this dark reality day in and day out, and it feels like an eternity. Fast forward, the thought that this dark reality has just ended (upon meeting M), or is just about to end- seems too good to be true.

    Anxiously, you watched his communication with you: how often, what words he used… and soon enough you detected a withdrawal, not a real one, but an imagined one, “naturally, his communication has taken a nosedive”, you wrote. You used the word “naturally” to mean that you expected him to withdaw from you. You expected that because that was your childhood experience, following the infrequent occasions when you were positively attended to, the attending didn’t last, as the attender withdrew.

    To be continued later.



    Dear Dreaming/ Reader:

    In the summer of 2016, you were counting the weeks of your relationship with M, 6.5 weeks was your count at one point. You were looking at the calendar, counting the days of the relationship still going on, counting the times he texted you per day, and how long it was between his texts. Your vigilant mind was keeping an exact record of all evidence for and against  his expected withdrawal/ disappearance from your life. Against, 6.5 weeks into the relationship: “I met his younger sister and about 10 of his friends in social settings and he did… give me a toothbrush/ contact lense case to keep at his place”. For:”I’m not technically in a relationship, i.e. boyfriend/ girlfriend… his communication betweeen dates has slowed down”.

    In August 2016, the relationship became technically a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, his initiative, and you were happy about it. But still alert and vigilant about any and all signs of his expected disappearance from your life, you were troubled by his reserved nature (evidence for his disappearance).

    Because of your excessive sensitivity to the possibility that the source of positive attention will disappear, every time that you perceived that he was withdrawing, you felt cold, and every time he attended to you, you felt warm. And so, you perceived him to be “hot and cold”, while in reality he was probably not hot and cold, it’s just that he didn’t contact you at the same time every day (he didn’t have an alarm on his phone that alerted him to call you every two hours, let’s say). And naturally, he was not the same all the time: sometimes busy, sometimes tired, sometimes troubled… behaviors that were about him, not evidence for or against him disappearing from your life.

    In September & October of 2016 you shared that your biological mother had a drug problem ever since you were 3 years old, that she had the habit of disappearing from your life (“her habit of lifelong drug problems, habit of disappearing from my life”), including the time she went to prison.

    – to be continued.



    Dear Dreaming/ Reader:

    Thoughts as I re-read the quotes from Dreaming and the two posts I submitted above:

    When parents don’t attend to their daughter, and as a result, she feels un-special/ unwanted/ unworthy as a child, they place their daughter in a very vulnerability position as a woman: what her parents didn’t give her, she is searching in a man (or in a woman, if so inclined). She will fall deeply in love with a man who she senses can give her that craved special- worthy feeling, especially if the man expresses to her that he does not value her. If a man does value her, she focuses on the ways he doesn’t perfectly (and unrealistically) value her, and her childhood craving remains unsatisfied.

    An un-valued girl keeps hoping that her parents will value her. She may stop trying at one point on, but the hope is not gone: it reawakens in the romantic context. And just like she tried and tried… and tried again, to make her parents value her, she keeps trying with the man: chasing him, fighting with him, fighting for him, begging him,  going back to him again and again, and/ or taking on the passive, obedient role- like Dreaming did, clearly evident in regard to the first man she shared about- going along with whatever he wanted, keeping herself, her feelings, her thoughts, her wants… out of the relationship.

    Dreaming’s mother repeatedly disappeared from Dreaming’s life ever since she was 3 years old and her father was not attentive. Fast forward, Dreaming the woman, in a relationship with a man, repeatedly fears that he too will disappear from her life (“I am terrified that he will leave me”, April 2017), keeping a vigilant record of evidence for and against the feared and expected disappearance.

    In February 2016, Dreaming wrote regarding the ending of the relationship with the first man she shared about: “This is possibly one of the most hurtful, one sided experiences so far in my life” – she forgot the years of her one-sided, hurtful childhood experience, where she craved for her parents’ love while they didn’t care for her. She knows that her mother disappeared from her life, etc., but she knows it in a 2-dimensional kind of way, not deeply enough for it to sink in. So she forgets, but what she forgets is still driving her life.

    She thinks that she is working out issues of a romantic-adult relationship, but she is working out issues of her childhood. Regarding her mother who repeatedly disappeared from her life, she wrote in the summer of 2017: “I know she’s never going to turn around and be mother of the year”, but she doesn’t know that she is waiting for the man in her life to turn around and be the boyfriend/ husband of the year, an unrealistically perfect specimen that he will never be, and in so doing, she is placing herself in an ongoing state of dissatisfaction.

    As a child, she kept hoping and fantasizing (and dreaming) that there was going to be a shift and her mother will proclaim how she really wanted to  be with her daughter (Dreaming). As a woman, regarding the first man she shared about: “I had this fantasy in my mind that something between us was going to shift, and he’d ‘proclaim’ how he really wanted to be with me”, March 2016. Her hope regarding her mother transferred to hope regarding the man.

    What happens when a man is interested? The second man she shared about was interested, he was “thoughtful, kind, patient and extremely receptive”, but Dreaming remains vigilant, focused on him, on his daily, hour by hour behavior, keeping careful record of evidence for and evidence against his interest in her (“I actually LOOK for signs that my boyfriend might want to leave me”, summer 2017), magnifying signs that he will leave her, and minimizing and literally placing in parentheses signs that he will stay:

    “I asked if he ever thought about us moving in together (even though we decided we would when my lease is up)”, summer 2017.

    He answered her question, saying that he sometimes thought about them living together since they decided earlier to move in together, but Dreaming was not satisfied with his answer: “This answer wasn’t good enough to me because it showed no excitement” – never satisfied, always looking for what is not there, for what is missing.

    And in line with this chronic dissatisfaction, she is envying other women who have more committed boyfriends, focusing on what she believes that others have and she doesn’t.

    “Just once I want to have that amazing, happy feeling of ‘This is exactly what I’ve been wishing for”, Feb 2017- but she will never be able to have that Mother-Loves-Me amazing, happy feeling. She has to accept grieve the tragedy of growing up with out such love, and in so doing, putting to rest her never-satisfied craving for a man to become the perfect loving entity that a child needs her mother to be.

    -one more post to follow.



    Dear Dreaming/ Reader:

    After over a year into the relationship, you were still afraid every day: “I am afraid of losing him every day… We have something really great going on, except I have a crippling fear that I’ll lose everything”, Aug-Sept 2017.

    In late Oct 2017 you shared about experiencing severe depression. You were again focusing on what you do not have: “(no) promotion at work.. not engaged, not married, not a home owner, not a pet owner, and not a parent”.

    Your proposed solution to your depression: “if my boyfriend… started talking about our future and potentially getting married someday, I’d probably feel a little more ‘excited’ or ‘hopeful’ about the future”, late Oct 2017.

    He did just what you wished he would say by Marc 2018: “We moved in a couple of months ago… He said he’s committed to me and wants to get married, but not yet” – your focus and complaint was about the NOT YET part, even though you wished for him to talk about getting married SOMEDAY (Oct 2017), which is congruent with not-yet.

    Fast forward to July 22, 2019, in your last post in this 57th thread, three years into your relationship with your boyfriend, by that point- your fiancé, you were again focused on what you did not have, this time,  in regard to sex: “I am not sure (sex) excites him… I’m worried…  I’m starting to realize our compatibility issues in the bedroom. I’ll take any advice” – these were your last words in these forums.

    Never satisfied because the issue is not this man, or any other romantic interest. The issue is abandonment and trauma in childhood which keeps projecting itself into your adult life. You keep living the same emotional  experience of childhood projected into your adult circumstances. There is no resolution to that chronic dissatisfaction other than accepting and grieving the tragic experience of your childhood.

    I am reminded of a woman I know irl- it LOOKS like if only her romantic interest did this or that, she would be so happy.. if only! But her chronic dissatisfaction will never cease to be, no matter what her romantic interest says or does, because her chronic dissatisfaction has nothing to do with him.


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