What would you do? (Picture: Neil Webb/Metro.co.uk)
Welcome back to The Sex Column, our weekly advice series where we get the experts to resolve your dating dilemmas.
Last week we chatted with someone who is worried they’re a friend’s Plan B.
This week we have someone who was pursued by their friend, only to enter into a relationship with her to find she had completely lost her libido…
The twist is that she has been cheating. What does she want?
Or more importantly, what does our dater want out of this crumbling relationship?
Let’s see what the experts have to say.
‘I’ve been dating my girlfriend for two years and, before that, we were friends who were getting sexual.
‘She wanted to have sex and start a relationship but I wasn’t sure about her. After about a year, I finally asked her out and when we started dating she made it quite clear that we would be abstaining from sexual activities.
‘I didn’t mind because she said she wanted us to start right. We’ve come to love each other without sex but I’ve now discovered she’s been cheating and having sex with someone else.
‘She says she doesn’t feel sexually attracted to me and thought I was never going to ask her out so she checked out mentally.
‘I’ve asked her for a decision about our relationship but she can’t seem to give me one.‘
What the experts say:
You tell us what she wants and how she feels but say very little about yourself.
‘You even asked her if she wanted to break up with you when she’s the one who cheated,’ says James McConnachie.
You also say that she made it clear that your relationship would be sexless.
‘But did she ask you what you wanted?’ he continues. ‘She’s been having sex with someone else. But did you agree to this? Relationships can be unusual, unconventional or surprising – but they shouldn’t be exploitative.’
The transition from friends to lovers can be a difficult one and your girlfriend has clearly struggled with it.
‘Although she loves you, she’s told you that she doesn’t find you sexually attractive,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin.
‘This has naturally caused you hurt and confusion as you’ve justified this arrangement, believing she has certain beliefs about sex.’
Now you have discovered, very painfully, that this isn’t the case.
‘Many couples end up in unbalanced or sexless relationships, or relationships where infidelity is tolerated, quietly or openly,’ says McConnachie.
‘Although it’s hurtful, some make it work, but what seems less hopeful are relationships that begin with a lack of balance or honesty.’
If you were both happy with an asexual relationship, you could enjoy an affectionate companionship.
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‘But you initially didn’t want sex with her and now she doesn’t want sex with you,’ says Rupert Smith.
‘Sex has always been a source of withholding and frustration.’
A frank conversation as to whether you can meet each other’s needs is now necessary.
‘It’s quite likely that she considers you a friend, someone trustworthy, reliable and committed, but no more than this,’ says Rudkin.
As painful as it is, we suggest you end this relationship and focus on understanding your previous experiences of intimacy, which will allow you to finally express how you feel and to state what it is you want.
‘Has sex always been a problem? Are you able to trust the people you’re close to?’ asks Smith, who suggests exploring your expectations of a relationship and the value and meaning of sex with a counsellor.
From this place, you will be in a strong position to find the healthy, intimate relationship you deserve.
Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor
James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
Got a sex and dating dilemma?
To get expert advice, send your problem to firstname.lastname@example.org
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