Advice

Miss Information

Pin it


 

Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.



Dear Miss Information,
I’m thirty-two, and have been with my forty-year-old beau for nine months. Everything is great except for one thing: We’ve never consummated the relationship. He saw a doctor (his idea) in the beginning of our relationship to discuss erectile dysfunction, and was given a clean bill of health and some Viagra. But even with Viagra he was unable to get an erection. After a few drawn-out and emotional discussions (mostly initiated by me), he has since admitted that he can achieve erection and orgasm — at home, by himself — just fine. He also admitted this has been a problem in his past relationships. A former physician recommended counseling, to which my boyfriend took offense. It’s been months since we’ve discussed this problem, and I feel relatively confident that we won’t unless I initiate the conversation. So many possibilities are running through my mind: Is he gay? Not attracted? Past sexual abuse? I understand this issue must be hard on a guy, but what’s up with his unwillingness to discuss it? — (Born Again) Virgin

Dear Born Again Virgin,

He’s doing what a lot of people do — avoiding the issue. There are those who broadcast and dissect every nuance of their personal problems. Other people prefer to remain quiet and deal with things solo. Both are valid approaches to life, but it’s a bitch when you’ve got two totally different types in a relationship, trying to hash something over.

 

Broadcasters often interpret a lack of expression as a lack of caring. If someone isn’t talking about something, they must not be thinking about it. I’m not a Broadcaster myself (shocking, I know), and I’m sure there are legions of Quiets out there who will say this assumption isn’t true. Conversely, a Quiet will interpret a Broadcaster’s attempts at communication as an indication that that the Broadcaster doesn’t believe in them or trust them. They hear "You’re a useless man-boy who can’t be trusted to look up a web site," instead of "Hey, I want to help you."

 

Unfortunately, although your situation has all the marks of a classic codependency, he can delay its resolution a lot longer than, say, a compulsive gambler or alcoholic. He’s orgasming. That’s one of the major pain points, already taken care of. Secondly, no one loses their house because of lack of intercourse. No one crashes their Acura or gets sacked from their job.

 

They do get dumped by their significant others and spouses. That’s one element you have control over. Have a conversation in which you make it clear that you care for him, but you’re not going to put up with continued inaction on this issue. That when the pain gets too bad, you’re going to take off. It’s meet-me-halfway or the highway. Sorry. And let him know what that looks like — whether it’s an agreement to talk about the issue at a particular time, weekly, while each tries their best not to be bitchy and recalcitrant, or something more formal, like counseling.

One final note: You need to get off this gay thing. Just about every guy is impotent at some point in his life. It’s one of the leading causes of divorce. Your theorizing and fact-finding could be an expression of your anger, and the desire to leave a situation that’s troubling you. You want to find out something so shocking and horrible that it will make an exit emotionally easy. The reality is probably a combination of myriad factors, most of them much more run-of-the-mill and much less dramatic.


Dear Miss Info:

I have been seeing this man for all of a week when he tells me that he loves me. I really like him, but he is constantly showering me with excessive compliments. I’m not trying to sound like a bitch here, but it just seems like he is a bit much. He’s a really sensitive guy and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I don’t like to be fawned over so much. I guess I perceive it as insincere. Is there something wrong with this guy, or am I just being ridiculous because my ex was so cold and closed off? Please help! Exact Opposite

Dear Exact Opposite,

An "I love you" at week one is only acceptable if you’re currently enrolled in preschool or are Drew Barrymore. That said, I have a number of friends in long-term relationships — some of them marriages — who got to the magic three words very, very early. You’re not being weird, though. They’re a small minority. Delivered too early, chocolate-covered adjectives and sugary texts can have all sorts of negative connotations attached: I love you (and I’m desperate). I love you (and I love random tail). I love you (and I don’t know what a "boundary" is or how to honor one and that is why it’s 2:00 a.m. and I’m crying and doing a shitty guitar serenade outside your door).

 

Does this mean you’re a cold fish with commitment issues? That you only like guys who treat you badly and don’t communicate? Pshaw. Unlike Vogue models, emotions and behaviors come in more than one size. When it comes to affection, what you have right now is an Extra Large. What you need is a Medium. You already know you don’t want a Small (a.k.a., your ex-boyfriend). You don’t have to judge yourself for what you want, because it’s all subjective. Just ask yourself: Does this make me happy? If so, it’s a go.

Having a deep emotional well available to you is better than trying to make someone be affectionate who’s not naturally inclined. I see a strong potential for BF material, but you need to act quickly to salvage it. Once you start seeing him as that lame nuisance-y boy chasing after you in a Cupid diaper, it’s going to be hard to shake off that feeling. It’s one of those animal attraction things, and your libido is particularly vulnerable.

When he compliments you and lays it on thick, act flat. That should get rid of some of it, but if it doesn’t, tell him that the mushiness is making you uncomfortable. I wouldn’t necessarily go on and on about why. He might try to convince you exactly why he loves you (you can trust me, my sweet precious blah blah blah) resulting in an even more flowery and unwanted declarations. I’ve had that happen a few times. Ugh. Just say that you’d rather retain a little mystery. When you’re ready for more, you’ll let him know.


Previous Miss Info

©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com