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Pressure to perform


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We've been together nearly a year. We've been through a fair bit. I suffered a trauma when I was working overseas, which involved physical/sexual/emotional abuse by an ex-partner which resulted in hospitalization and police involvement. I had trauma-related episodes following my return home, and despite trying to maintain normality I was struggling. My partner pursued me despite me telling him I was not in a great place but in all fairness, we have had a good relationship. I'm due to return to study in September; I'm 22. He's 33, used to be a very highly-paid and successful chef but is someone who struggles with his personal identity and career. He's been working for his father since I've known him; seems to live in fantasy land in regards to work and prospects more often than not, and has not achieved what he has wanted to. It has led to a great deal of frustration on my part trying to provide him with direction, etc... and as a result it is now a raw subject for me. He is getting himself together but it is sometimes exhausting to watch/listen to. He is making progress but I've run out of steam, really.


My reason for writing is this; I love my partner but recently I feel distanced from him. I am a year on from a serious trauma, just about to go study and I am scared. Really scared. I want to do well and move on with my life. The pressure of that combined with the pressure of his lack of stability makes me not really feel like being intimate. I am trying but I view sex and men with some difficult at the moment due to what happened. My sex drive has waned.


He complains in quiet ways. He claims to not have a problem with it, but will say snide things like "you just don't get turned on by me any more" or turning every hug or kiss into a chance to have it off. We have sex about once or twice every 10 days. I have also gained weight despite gym, and I attribute it to my efforts with dieting which are frequently thwarted by his insistence on buying junk food. It's difficult to constantly refuse or deny when someone is stuffing their face in front of you...I told him I am not feeling very sexy for physical and emotional reasons and I will try, but I honestly don't feel like being intimate.

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Yes, it's important to make sure a potential long term partner has a high work ethic and financial stability. Good for you for recognizing this as a major problem, and in my world, it's a deal breaker. Your relationship is regressing, and a clear signal it should come to an end.


If you feel like a giant weight will be removed from your chest with a breakup, then it's the right thing to do. Don't enter into another relationship until you get rid of the baggage you're now carrying around. Seek counseling. It's cumbersome and unsettling to carry around dead, ugly weight wherever you go. Counseling can help. Take care.

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It's very understandable to feel the way you're feeling after the trauma you suffered. You probably needed to get away from everything and everyone and just be alone to sort things out. You didn't have that opportunity. School may provide a mental distraction, but it sounds like you really shouldn't be in a relationship right now. Also, a 33-year old guy's going to want sex from his girlfriend and he may have pushed you too hard. And it does sound like he's an under-achiever. The weight gain is actually quite common after an assault. Psychologically, you're trying to make yourself less attractive so you don't encourage a future assault. And also, eating is comforting.


You have great possibilities ahead of you and he may have already settled on a life just working for his father. Things are not adding up favorably for your boyfriend. I agree with Andrina in thinking you should let him go and see if school has counselling available. Talking things out with someone can be very helpful.

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