Dear Dr. Frankie,
I was in a long-term marriage and had two awesome kids. I fell in love with a woman with whom my children and I have been living for about 10 years. I came out to my family and friends but not to my children. It hurts me so badly because I want to be honest about my relationship, especially to my children. I feel I have lied to them.
When I first met my partner the sex was amazing and I felt so in love. But for the last nine years we have sex about once a year. I have tried to talk to her about our lack of intimacy and have even asked her to go to therapy. I have never been fully secure in this relationship and I now find myself looking at other woman. I have asked her to go to lesbian bars and vacations but she refuses.
I am so affectionate and want a real partner and I have told her that. She often tells me she loves me but I feel like I have wasted the last 10 years of my life. I am tired of being alone sexually but I just can’t leave her because I love her. I know things won’t change and will only get worse. I cannot live like this anymore. I feel like a flower without water.
It hurts that I have talked with her about this year after year. But what hurts the most is that you cannot make someone have sex with you, they have to want to come to you. Any suggestions?
Dear Wilted Flower
It sounds like you have reached your tipping point and change is on the horizon.
Let’s tackle Dilemma #1. Your children deserve to know the truth about your relationship. I’m no mathelete but I believe your youngest child is at least 10 or 11? If you think your children are both old enough and mature enough to understand and accept that you are a lesbian and your “roommate” of this past decade is actually your girlfriend, it’s probably time for The Talk. Most if not all children ultimately want their mother to be happy whether it’s with a man or a woman. Also, since everyone else around them is privy to the “secret”, it’s only a matter of time until they hear the truth from a third party. This is a hurtful, confusing and potentially devastating way for them to find out. And if it is any consolation, in all honesty your children are quite possibly humoring you by going along with the program to alleviate your anxiety and not make any waves.
Dilemma #2. You deserve to be happy. After nine years of repeated and unsuccessful attempts to communicate your need to feel closer and more intimate, it is now time to consider other options. Meeting with a couple’s therapist should have happened yesterday. Your partner’s refusal to participate is curious. Is she stonewalling? Does she not believe therapy works? Is she fearful of what she might learn? Regardless, she should want to participate in the therapeutic process because it is important to you and you are asking for her help. With so much on your plate you could also benefit from the support of individual counseling. This will provide you a safe space where you will hopefully gain clarity into your current situation. If and when you attend therapy it is important to find a therapist through a referral and not randomly choose someone out of a book or online. A good couple’s therapist will help you communicate your needs and identify what is getting in the way of your ability to be intimate emotionally and physically.
If you discover there is potential for playfulness in the relationship, consider attending a sex workshop or purchasing a book that focuses on techniques and re-igniting the spark that once existed.