Our sex life has fallen off a cliff and I can’t cope with the constant rejection

I have been with my partner for 약 15 연령. We met through work in our mid-20s; at the time, she was engaged to another man. Her relationship ended and we became a couple. Things were great to begin with, the thrill continued and we had an active and adventurous sex life. 안타깝게도, within a couple of years – and unbeknown to me at the time – she had difficulties at work and seemingly lost all confidence. This led to our sex life falling off a cliff. I then became withdrawn, not understanding where the rejection was coming from and that made her feel worse.

Since she opened up to me, we have had many heart-to-heart conversations, but nothing has really helped. I sought therapy to work on myself and suggested she try the same, which she recently has and seems to like. But nothing really changes.

We have had wonderful times and holidays together and I believe we still love each other dearly, but I can’t cope with what feels like constant rejection. 있다 little affection at all; nothing more than a cuddle is initiated by her. 그녀 will occasionally do something for me sexually, but her wanting anything the other way around happens once a year at best – and even then it is only really foreplay. All of this confuses me and I am not sure what to do.

When one partner faces challenges in life, it always affects the other partner, as well as their relationship in general. Some people describe what you have been going through as a trial of “hot potato”; first your partner began to suffer work stress, which threw stress and anxiety towards you, and then your feelings of rejection in turn affected her. This kind of balancing act is very common. It can be very painful, seemingly endless, and can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness. Try to be gentle with yourself, as well as with your partner. What you are experiencing in your relationship is a process and you have already taken some appropriate positive steps towards resolution and improvement. Try to soothe yourself and, for now, join your partner in the difficult and essential task of simply coping. Your strong desire to achieve relational and personal healing will eventually find its rewards.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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