Dear Harlan: I’m in a committed relationship (over two years), and lately our sex life has pretty much died. It started off great, but now it’s like I have to beg and nag, which I’m not comfortable doing. When I question why he has been so distant, my boyfriend spews excuse after excuse, like joint pain, back pain and headaches. I feel like the man in the relationship. I have gained a few pounds, but nothing noticeable. So, what is with the cold shoulder all of a sudden? This has been going on for more than a year, and I’m not sure what to do next. I do not want to break up with him, but it’s getting to the point where that seems like the only option. I receive absolutely no affection, and it’s tearing me apart. He claims that he gives me affection, but he doesn’t.
Dear Missing Something: I know why you’re so afraid to face the truth. The truth might leave you single. And being single terrifies you. Here’s what must happen next: Either make things better, or upgrade and find someone better. But you have to be committed to upgrading. Before approaching him, realize this isn’t about weight, back pain or excuses. It’s about honest communication and the brutal truth. Have a plan to move on. Know that you have other options (i.e., other men). Don’t make this about sex. Make it about the relationship and what you’re feeling.Explain that you need help feeling connected. Again, don’t make it about sex — make it about communicating. Ask if there’s something happening in his life that you don’t know about. See if he’s willing to share more when you try this approach. Ask him if he’s willing to see a therapist with you. If he’s willing to open up, you’ll find out what’s really happening. If not, you’ll find someone else.