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On love & sex...

I've had two friends talk to me about their relationships with week.  Both are in committed long term relationships, one friend a man and the other a woman - both going through a bit of a rough patch with their partner - one more severe than the other.
Scenario number one (the male friend) - A couple that's been together over 5 years that started out together very young.  They are each other's first serious relationship. They're unmarried, but live together.  They're relationship has reached the point of being more like room-mates than anything else.  No sex to speak of, no real quality time with each other and they hardly ever kiss each other hello when they come home any more (they used to all the time).  He says he's in love with her and doesn't want to break up.  They've tried 'dating' each other again, but when he makes sexual advances - she says that's all he's interested in.  He says there's only so much rejection he can take before he stops bothering (this is just a brief summary, but only scratches the surface)...
Scenario number two (the female friend):  Married couple with a baby.  He works all the time.  She's home alone with the baby all day (and some nights as well), living in a new area with no social life.  He plays sports two nights a week and has no additional free time to spend with his family.  She feels alienated and gets no help around the house or with the baby.  He says he's tired and has no time to help.  They're arguing more often then they used to.  Sex is brief and not very often (the baby isn't in her own room yet because he doesn't have the time to help set-up the nursery).  Tensions are high...
These are both common scenarios.  When asked for advise, I gave my female friend the following suggestions (although I'm no relationship expert) - Stop thinking about what's coming between you - it only makes you more agitated every time you go over it.  Instead, buy something sexy that makes you feel pretty when you put it on (unlike the lingerie he's bought for her that only made her feel fat with baby weight).  I also provided the product info for an item to surprise him with in the bedroom that in my opinion, will do them both a world of good.  I told her to lay the items out for him to find when he gets home for work and let him know what he can expect when the baby gets her own room and to tell him she did it because she loves him and wants to get closer again.  Men feel more loved with sex.  If they know they're loved - they start showing more love.  It's an easy and quick fix for a couple with a good foundation...
My advise for my male friend - Although, I've made quite a few suggestions in the past that haven't worked, I honestly didn't know what to tell him.  Why is it I know more about how men think then women?  I can advise my girlfriends with advise on men all day long, but when I need to help a man with what to do when thier are having problems relating to love & sex - I don't have a clue.  I mean, I've told him before to send her flowers at work (woman love that sort of thing).  I told him to take her for a weekend away.  I told him all the obvious things, but how to seduce a woman  who feels all you want is sex??  Sorry, not my territory.  I've been that woman, but I was much younger and it was only when the relationship had run it's course and there was no saving it.  I didn't know how to tell him that. 
I guess I just find it odd that I had no advise to offer other than what I've offered in the past few months.  I feel really good that my friends feel any advise I have to offer is worth listening to and that they come to me when they need to talk, but I feel terrible when I don't have anything to offer.


Two Crabs said…
Ok here's my advise for your male friend, from one guy to another: It's time to face the facts that this relationship is over. It sounds to me like they just gradually grew apart, but he only wants to stay in the relationship because it's the only thing he's ever known with no other relationships for comparison. They also have VERY different attitudes towards sex. He views sex to be a physical experience to be mutually shared by two people in love; she finds it to be a chore, at least with him. She is NOT in love with him anymore. No amount of sex or flowers is going to change that underlying issues. This relationship is clearly a one-way street. I know this guy is hurting and will hurt even more by making the tough decision he needs to make. But it's time for him to move on and get on with his life, and eventually find a woman who will love him as much as he loves her.
Beverley said…
I have to agree with two crabs and with what you said about the relationship running it's course. This relationship is over. If she doesn't want to sleep with him than she's no longer in love with him. I'm sorry to say that your friend is in for some real heart break.
The advise you gave to your other friend was brilliant. I'd love to get the product info as well if you're willing to share!
Erren said…
Thanks for the input guys. I have to agree that things are not looking good for my friend and his girlfriend. I spoke to him today and with his latest plan in motion, he seems hopeful and optimistic. I'm in a bad spot because no-one wants to hear things they aren't ready to hear, so I'll have to step back and see where it goes.
I think a healthy and strong relationship comes down to three key factors (again, I'm no expert) - Being in love, good communication and a healthy sex life. Although the balance with love and sex is hard to perfect considering the main difference between men and woman in that regard is - Men need sex to feel loved and woman need to feel loved (or to be in love) to want to have sex (while in a committed relationship anyway).
That being said, it's difficult to hear each other and communicate well or want to have sex, if you're angry with each other - which is why my other friend got her advise. Once the tension is lowered, it's a lot easier to work through the issues - and what better way is there to lower the tension?
Jeremy said…
I feel sex and love are clearly not compatible with each other. Love by far the hard part to get right, so if there is love, sick with it. With that said, I suggest the following for your Male friend. Have him talk opening and honestly with his girlfriend. Tell him they can create code works if it makes it easier to talk about it, but they have to talk to each other. The have to REALLY talk about sex with each other and then agree on ground rules. This can included the following:
1. Neither of them can say no when approached for sex.
2. She has to approach him once a week for sex.
3. No more than 3 times a week and no less than 2 times.
4. Stay at home and get a couple of bottles of wine, get drunk with the expectation they will have sex that night.
It sounds like a communication issue more than a desire issue. They have to force each other to seriously address the problem through discussion and work through it.

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