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I am a fit and active 30-something, I eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. My fiancé though has put on a substantial amount of weight over the few years we’ve been dating, and she refuses to do much about it. I’ve talked to her in many ways including the nice approach and the tough love approach. We’ve gotten to the point where we basically don’t have a sex life because I am just not attracted to her like I used to be. The infrequent times that we do have sex, it is unsatisfying. She thinks things are fine. I adore her and love her very much. There’s so much about us that is good. I’m wondering though, can this relationship survive if there isn’t much of a sex life?
It depends. Can you live the rest of your life without feeling sexually fulfilled? If so, then your relationship will be just fine. I suspect though you do have some sort of sexual desire and prefer it to be with the woman you marry. Most people have a sexual type, whether it is petite, full-figured, athletic, or otherwise and if you settle for someone who doesn’t quite do it for you you’ll inevitably feel frustrated and perhaps resentful. Feelings of guilt might develop too if you find yourself lusting after those who more closely match your type. Worst case scenario is you cheat and ruin the relationship.
Your engagement is based on love and love is comprised of several needs including intellectual, emotional, sexual, psychological, and more. In a perfect world, one person fulfills all — however the reality is usually much different as it is difficult to get all needs met through one person. As a result, couples compensate with the stronger qualities carrying the relationship. Sexuality, no doubt, is theoretically an intensely inherit part of your life, and in your case, one that’s not fully compatible with that of your fiancé. Consider what happens after your threshold for tolerating unsatisfying sex is met?
Until you reconcile the difference between what your fiancé looks like and what you want her to look like, you might find yourself revisiting this very same question, again and again. Beware, another issue you might have to consider in the near future: the different values you and your fiancé place on health and wellness.
Jonathan Alpert is a Manhattan psychotherapist and author. He appears on national TV commenting on sex and relationship issues as well as lifestyle, mental health, and hot-button issues. Get more of Jonathan’s great advice in his new book, Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.