Comparing Her Sexually
Q: Now, after some time of seeing a man that I was truly crazy about, I find myself pulling back. After his divorce 10 years ago, he sought therapy. He told me all about his ex-wife and her family and then we went on a vacation together and all he did was take me to places they had been and talk about her. He says that I am the only one that he has talked to about her besides his therapist. He will not discuss his past relationships after his divorce, except for the sexual part, which makes me feel that he's comparing me to them. He has me do things that the other women did sexually. This leaves me feeling hurt and feeling that he is unhappy with me sexually. We are to go on vacation again together in a few weeks near the same places that we went before, and I am starting to get anxious about it and sort of dreading it. Please tell me how to deal with this. -- Rosie, 52
Dr. Susan: You need to tell this man about your anxieties right away. If, after you've discussed your feelings in depth, your dread of this upcoming vacation doesn't lessen, don't go. Otherwise, you'd surely be signing on for a repeat of the last time. I see it as a good sign, theoretically, that he talks openly to you about things that matter to him. Yet there's no rule saying you have to sit there and shut up when he brings up matters that make you uneasy or in which you're not interested. All this talk of previous sexual activity is insensitive of him, but unless you let him know what's going on for you, he can't change the behavior. Let's make one thing clear: he can't make you do sexual things you don't want to do. I suspect he's probably trying to have a good time with you in ways that have worked for him before. That doesn't mean he finds you lacking. You're his woman now. So tell him that his approach feels selfish and is driving you away. I suggest the two of you make a deal to start afresh and find new places to go and new things to try.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.