Can't Go Back to Being Friends
Q: I dated a woman on and off for four years, until she said that sometimes she feels we never should have crossed the line between friends and a relationship. The first couple of years, we had sex often. Less in the third year. She says her hormones are messed up and she can't commit to intimacy until she gets meds or has surgery. The fourth year was no sexual contact. I told her that I was too much in love with her to just be friends. She claims her life is too messed up to have a relationship at this time, though she still loves me. She says it wouldn't be fair to me to expect me to deal with all of her problems, that she's not the woman I'm looking for. She can't change who she is. I told her I didn't want to change her. One of our problems was she didn't spend time with me. She says she had to take care of her daughters. I told her that if we loved each other and had fun together we should be together and find a way to work "us" into the equation. We often talked about a future together, but we are not together. Should I move on? Try to talk to her about us? Is it over? -- K.C., 57
Dr. Susan: She's giving you very strong signs that she's lost interest. Menopause could certainly have affected her libido, but when you love someone, you get the help you need and you make time for one another. Your feelings seem to be deeper than hers. Your need for intimacy, not just sex, appears a larger priority in your life. I think she's doing that thing where a woman says, "It's me, not you," to spare your feelings, when it's really that she doesn't want to be together anymore. Most relationships cool down a bit after the first couple of years, but intimacy doesn't usually make a dead stop. Of course you should try to talk with her once more before giving up, but if she won't come halfway toward you, I'd agree that it's over.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.