Usually my posts explore the experience and impact that sexual dysfunction can have on a woman’s sex life, confidence, and general well-being. In this post, I’d like to shift gears to the experience of the partner, who is often suffering too and may feel stuck. If that’s you, then you may have a whole bunch of feelings, some of which may conflict.
Maybe you’re the one doing all the research on treatment options, but then you get pushback for a variety of different reasons. Or maybe your partner is open to help but you’re reeling from all the months/years it has been with this issue. Based on our experience, here are some feelings that may come up for partners:
- You may feel a general sense of being unattractive, not good enough, lonely, unwanted. — You may feel triggered by sexual activity and finding old insecurities coming up.
- You may feel like your desire to be sexual is being perceived by your partner as “just a horny release” when, in fact, it’s also about an emotional connection and feeling close.
- You may feel selfish for being upset, yet you know you’re entitled to be upset.
- You may feel sick of how disagreements — especially those that are initially unrelated to sex — somehow end up going back to what is and isn’t happening sexually.
- You may feel angry that she is too ashamed to get help, doesn’t want to get help, or has given up on getting help.
- You may feel frustrated that she pretends it’s all fine and that everything is working, when you know that it’s not all fine.
- You may get annoyed at hearing all the excuses she may give for why she’s having the problem and wish she would see that it may not just be “a phase”.
- You may feel scared at what your relationship may look like down the road if it continues the way it is.
- You may feel like it’s getting more difficult to feel committed to her — despite how much you love her — when she’s refusing to get help for something that is affecting your entire dynamic. Sexual dysfunction can shake the whole foundation of a relationship, and sexual issues have a way of spilling over into how the couple can connect with each other.
The good news is that when the right treatment is put into place, the changes in the relationship can be palpable, especially the relief that it won’t always have to be this way.