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I am a male grad student who is technically engaged to a female grad student. She has numerous positive qualities, but she is repulsed by sex. She is very sensitive about her repulsion and becomes distraught when I broach the subject. She says that even the thought of doing anything sexual with me elicits a panic attack. She also insists that she is “broken” because, in the hopes of preventing me from leaving her, she forced herself to go further than she felt comfortable. We are both virgins, and the furthest that we ever went sexually was cunnilingus. She has never seen me completely naked or expressed any interest in making love to me. When she revealed that any form of sexual affection prompted panic attacks and psychological distress, I decided to call off our engagement. She proceeded to threaten to kill herself and blame me for her aversion to sex. I agreed to continue the relationship but insisted that we postpone marriage. She refuses to go to couples counseling. I love her and enjoy her companionship, but my sexual self-esteem is devastated. I feel rejected and bitter, and I am still with her mainly because of guilt. Although she denies that this contributes to the situation, she also holds strong religious convictions. She claims that she always had a weak libido and that bodily fluids (especially semen) disgust her. Finally, despite her use of oral contraceptives, she fears pregnancy. She also disapproves of my family and friends, my interest in science, my distrust of religion, and my use of antidepressants. My questions: (1) If I did cause or contribute to her sexual aversion, do I have a lifelong obligation to remain with her? (2) Barring cheating, the impetus for her decision to break up with a previous boyfriend, what other options do I have? (3) Could her sexual aversion ever dissipate? (4) Could her sexual aversion stem from asexuality? —Gradually Escalating Threats OblIgate Unending Togetherness
1. You are not obligated to stay with this unpleasant woman for the next 50 years just because you made the mistake of proposing to her. And even if she started fucking you, GETOUT, do you really want to be with her?
2. Why bar cheating? If taking herself hostage is so intimidating that it prevents you from breaking up with her (threatening to kill herself = taking herself hostage), then go ahead and cheat on her, or pretend to cheat on her, and let her break up with you.
3. Her sexual aversion may dissipate over time. Or it may not. But someone who doesn’t want to fuck someone—and she clearly doesn’t want to fuck you—rarely starts wanting to fuck that someone down the road. So she may get over her sexual aversion in time, but she’ll probably be fucking someone else when she does… even if she’s married to you.
4. Could be that, sure. But unless you’re willing to live a sexless life with a manipulative spouse who disapproves of your family, friends, meds, etc., the root cause of her sexual aversion is irrelevant. —Dan Savage
I am getting married to my partner next month. I’m super pumped. Her family is awesome and supportive. I’ve had a long back and forth with my family about the wedding—including inviting them and saying how much it would mean to me if they would come. I’m trying to be the bigger person, even though they have never been supportive of me as a queer person. I suspect some of them are not coming, as I got a pretty intense e-mail from my sister-in-law about how my family can’t support my engagement because blah blah Catholic blah. Yesterday was the RSVP due date, and none of them have responded. So it is now to the point where I’m going to have to call and outright ask if they’re coming and potentially absorb all their rejection personally. Here’s the kicker: I found out through Facebook that my brother, who I used to think was my ally (he said that he and his GF were going to try to make it to my wedding), is getting married seven days after we are! And he forgot to invite me?! So with this knowledge, what am I supposed to say when I call asking for RSVPs? —Please Please Please Help
You are not going to absorb your shitty family’s rejection personally, PPPH, because you are not going to call each and every shitty member of your shitty family to personally ask each individual shit if they’re coming to your wedding. The shits aren’t coming—adjust your seating charts accordingly. And you know what? You don’t want these shits at your wedding. You don’t want to see your shitty sister-in-law’s sour face when you look out at your guests. You don’t want to see your shitty brother’s face—the shit throws you noncommittal shitty scraps and then in a shit move fails to invite you to his own wedding—when you cut the cake. You want people at your wedding who love and support you, who love and support your relationship—and your shitty family has made it abundantly clear that they are incapable of loving and supporting you.
It’s worse than that: Your shitty family has made it clear that they will seize any opportunity to wound you. So stop creating those opportunities. Don’t send any more invitations, don’t make any more phone calls, unfollow the fuckers on Facebook. Devote a week to grieving your loss—this kind of rejection is painful—and then resolve to focus on your wife-to-be, your education, your friends, and your career. Focus on the life you and your fiancée are embarking on together. She’s your family now. —Dan
My boyfriend and I have been together almost two months. Lately, he doesn’t seem that interested in investing in our relationship, but when I talk to him, he says the opposite. We are a bit long-distance (he lives an hour away). Two weeks ago, he went home to visit his parents. I was going to see him when he got back, but he said he wasn’t feeling well. Then last week, he went to his best friend’s wedding. Now he tells me he’s got to go back home this weekend to get his laptop. Through all this, his texting responses have gone down to where I am lucky to get a reply. If we are on the phone and the call drops, he doesn’t try to call me back, and he never answers when I call him back. I’m just trying to keep the lines of communication open, especially since we don’t see each other all the time, but he is making it difficult. What would be the best way to approach this? —Boyfriend’s Absences Worry Lonely & Invested New Girlfriend
Don’t call or text your boyfriend for two weeks. If he doesn’t call or text you in that time—and he won’t—then you cancel your three-month anniversary party. My hunch is that this relationship has been over for a while, BAWLING, but your boyfriend lacks the decency to put you out of your misery. Looking on the bright side: You won’t have to waste any of your money on a traditional three-month anniversary present—a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos—or any more of your time on this guy. —Dan