Help, I'm no longer attracted to my partner!

Miles apart

Miles apart (June 12, 2013)

I have been in a monogamous relationship for three years now. Our sex life has always been fun and adventurous. We have tried almost anything we could think of, Google or read about! For the last couple of months, I have felt a loss of sexual attraction to my partner. There is no doubt I love him and do not want to be with anyone else at this time, and he says he does not want to bother finding someone else either, but I do not know how to tell him I am not sexually attracted to him anymore. It is becoming a problem because he still has a ton of sexual energy left for our relationship and questions of infidelity are coming up. I do not know how much longer, "I'm really tired right now" or "I am not really in the mood" will last. I am lost at approaching this situation.--Show Me Something New

In any long-term, monogamous relationship, we can expect periods of stagnation in the lust department. Our partners, after all, see us at our worst. It’s near impossible to witness the daily monstrosities expunged from the human body and still want to bang that person ‘round the clock. However, while our desire might ebb and flow, attraction is a different beast. As gonzo advice-giver Cheryl Strayed (a.k.a. Dear Sugar) put it, “Attraction is either there or it isn't. It's deeper, more durable. It's the thing that gets you through the dry spells and rough patches.” Your problem, alas, appears to be with the deeper level of attraction. Also, this line gives me pause, “he says he does not want to bother finding someone else either.” Put that way, it seems like you’re hanging on for the sake of hanging on.

There are a few approaches you can take, but one thing is for certain: You should stop lying to your partner immediately. I know it’s a particular kind of brutal to look at someone you love and say, “I’m not attracted to you,” but it is far, far worse to try to cover that icky feeling up and make it seem like something else (headache, not in the mood, etc.) and have your partner question your fidelity or integrity, as is already happening. You’re not fooling anyone. Your partner has noticed your sexual disinterest and until you’re honest with him, he’s going to concoct all kinds of (probably incorrect) theories as to why it’s happening. Don’t make yourself or him any crazier than necessary: Tell him the truth.

Once you start to have those blunt yet necessary discussions with your partner, you can better determine next steps, which are, in my estimation, somewhat bleak. But, depending on how committed you both are to saving the relationship, you might benefit from some distance and space. According to the latest hullabalo on the female Viagra pill from The New York Times, for many women, the ultimate lady-boner killer appears to be “monogamy itself.” A study mentioned in the article noted that a woman’s lust in cohabitating relationships takes a considerable dive between one and four years, but that a man's lust levels remain about the same. Those women not cohabitating with their partners didn’t experience the drop-off. So taking a little time apart might help your sexual malaise.

If your attraction stays gone, however, and your boyfriend is not down with a platonic arrangement, then you just might have to call it quits.

Want to ask Anna an anonymous question about love, sex or dating? Email your quandary to redeyedating@gmail.com.  Need to give your dating life a boost? Sign up for RedEye Dating.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page

CHICAGO

More