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    Hi all
    rohvannyn posted:
    Not really sure where to start. A little background: I'm in a marriage with another woman, non papered because we don't want to share tax burdens as well as other financial liabilities and because it's not legal in our state. We've been together more than 8 years now and mostly have a good relationship but there are issues which she is getting increasingly fed up with and I'd like to help her out. I came here because I'm hoping it's a safe place I can discuss this kind of thing and get advice.

    I care about her a lot but I still have trouble being intimate enough, trusting, wanting to be close. My natural incllination is to keep a little distance. Maybe it's because I'm an only child, who knows, but she always wants to be closer and cuddlier than I do. I'm trying to find ways, first of all, that I can train myself to be more intimate, to find out how I can learn to want this more. I'm a bit at sea, not sure where to begin asking or answering questions.
    rhondamay responded:
    Rohvannyn, I had to work at intimacy and learning to trust because it did not come naturally to me. My limited advice from my own experience is to figure out what your partner needs to feel appreciated, and do your best to give it to them. Giving your partner this reassurance and appreciation will endear them to you and draw you closer. It makes them feel good about themselves and feel good about their relationship with you. Tell them you appreciate them as well as sincerely showing them by your actions.
    Listen to partner and learn what she really needs. To do this you must listen. You must listen a lot more than you talk. Two ears one mouth — use proportionately.
    Be honest with your partner. Honesty builds trust and trust and appreciation build intimacy.
    rohvannyn replied to rhondamay's response:
    Good advice, I really need to keep in practice. I guess like any habit it comes with time. I've been trying for years now though, and sometimes despair of making progress. Often when I am thinking I am being honest, she doesn't feel I am being honest. It's a bit of a mess at times.

    As odd as it may seem, I have had the best results by setting a sort of mental check list. Like, I hug her straight away when I come home from work. I think I need to set another one of those, like make sure I give her a good night kiss each night. It probably sounds awful but that kind of thing doesn't come naturally to me and I'm still trying to figure out why. I'm pretty bad at kissing and don't enjoy it and I'm trying to work on that as well. Any tips on learning to enjoy THAT?
    rhondamay replied to rohvannyn's response:
    I really like kissing! My guy is very good at it and we spend a lot of time practicing. As far as advice goes, my only suggestion is to do it with feeling and delicacy, only slightly open your mouth and just tease with your tongue. I have always found open-mouth-throat-swabbing kisses to be repugnant. Just one girl's opinion. ; )
    rohvannyn replied to rhondamay's response:
    I can sometimes see what people enjoy about it, and I'm really not into tonsil hockey. I just don't like being that close physically unless I am in a very particular mental state. It kind of feels funny. I think perhaps this is because I didn't do any experimentation with kissing as a teen, and didn't in fact get my first kiss till I was twenty, and have had more than a decade since of not doing it very often. I keep promising I'll do it more to get used to it but I just don't have the motivation. Meanwhile, she knows I don't like it so doesn't push, yet I know she's really missing it. Honestly, once saliva gets involved it just grosses me out.
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Your situation sounds very emotionally painful, and I'm sorry you're going through it. I have a lot of different thoughts about your situation, so I will share some of them here:
    Do you like being close emotionally? For instance, do you enjoy sharing your thoughts and feelings? Do you feel closer when she shares her thoughts and feelings? Or, are these things difficult, too? Sometimes difficulties with being physically close are related to problems being emotionally close.

    As for learning to get physically closer, you might want to start slow. Pay attention to any physical contact you do enjoy and to times when you enjoy it. For instance, maybe you enjoy giving or being given a back rub, perhaps even best when you are watching TV. Once you know what you enjoy -- or what you tolerate better than other things (and when), work on doing that more often. See if you can make it more a part of your life and practice noticing how you enjoy it (at least to some degree).

    The problem might be related to what physical intimacy means for you. Think about what you feel in addition to being uncomfortable when you are physically intimate (like when you hug). This could provide some clues of what's wrong and what you need to work on.

    Sometimes these issues arise when people have been hurt physically, emotionally (this could even be emotional neglect), or sexually by people -- especially during their childhood, but also later in life.

    If it's a big enough problem that you fear losing your marriage over it (or if it's just distressing enough), you might want to seek counseling to help.
    3point14 responded:
    Firstly, congrats on making it 8 years with another human being at your side! That's an accomplishment in itself.

    Have you explained to her that it's nothing personal? I tend also to be a more detached person, and my bf was a little put-off when we first started dating. What helped us bridge that gap was not only my being more open and willing to get out of my comfort zone, but also by my making sure it was a priority every single time he got fed up to remind him "I love you, it's nothing personal. I'm still very attracted to you, and want you to be happy. Be patient as I try to get better". And he said that was really helpful for him to hear, too.

    In terms of little endearments, ask her what she likes and then DO THEM. hahaha I know, so romantic, right? But it's true. Just have a real conversation about what she needs to feel more treasured, because it's obvious even from this post that you treasure her. Make it something the two of you are working on together, then you're both invested in the journey and it can be even more special as you become more attentive!

    I hate to be blunt, but how's your self esteem? Maybe if you felt sexier, you'd feel more like being sexy! Take some time to be sensual with yourself, even if that just means using a soft hair brush or using a new perfume. Focus on sensuality of your day to day life, and your life together, how she feels when she sleeps next to you, the smell of her skin when she sits next to you.

    Just try to get out of your head a little bit, and take action. hehe Google "kissing tips" and try stuff out together! Explain to her you don't find it sexy in general to be kissin' excessively, but that you want her to "teach you". Allow her to give you direction and listen closely. Part of the fun of that stuff is psychological, knowing you're driving her wild. Let yourself got lost in the physical acts, and don't second guess yourself, just go for it!

    Just your willingness to work on this speaks very well for your ability to solve this problem. Keep your eyes and ears open, keep the dialogue open, remind yourself of the sensuality of life, and don't be afraid to be a little silly.
    rohvannyn replied to 3point14's response:
    Thanks for the advice, both of you. I'll think about everything that was said. I do tend to be much more comfortable being intimate verbally, as far as sharing secrets and such, and I am way too much "in my head." There are other matters that complicate things, but I don't even know where to start sorting things yet. Still, thanks again.
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
    If there's more that would be helpful to lay out here, please do just that. It's what we're here for!
    Web_M_D_poster responded:
    Is it possible that you issue is related to trying to be romantically involved with another woman (as opposed to a man)? Human beings were designed to be attracted to the opposite sex, so perhaps your resistance to intimacy with a woman is natural. Sometimes the simplest answer is the right one.

    Take care.
    rohvannyn replied to Web_M_D_poster's response:
    Surprisingly, I'm not going to cry "bigot" and get offended. Instead I'm going to honestly think about the question. Actually, the responses I feel help me realize I do love her, just not in a terribly conventional way.

    She is on hormone therapy and has almost no libido, and my own drives have waned considerably over the years. I just mention that because it's so important to most, and our lack of sex life doesn't really bother me much. What is so much more important to me is our mental and emotional connection. With her, and no one else in this world, I can be myself. There are things that each of us know about the other, and a mental and emotional intimacy that is unsurpassed by anything else. It's that kind of thing that sustains you in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.

    We've weathered so many storms together, both literal and figurative. We've survived homelessness and sickness and death of beloved friends, legal battles and dangerous neighborhoods, poverty, so much more. There have times I've really doubted our relationship and our suitability for each other. I realize now how incredibly precious it is, and it redoubles my desire to get better at the emotional closeness side of things, and meet her emotional needs better. I realize that I really do love her, it's just not a conventional love. But it's still more precious to me than anything else.
    Web_M_D_poster replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Rohvannyn - I'm confused as to why you would think of crying bigot in reference to my comment. You posted your problem to a public forum, soliciting opinions as to the cause of the feelings you described. I simply posited a theory as to a possible reason. How would that meet the definition of "bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions or prejudices, especially one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethic group) with hatred and intolerance." (Mirriam-Webster).

    Maybe my answer is not the correct one, but it's not a baseless theory based on the details you provided. There are good and sufficient reasons that a woman may not be physically and/or romantically attracted to another woman. In fact, I would submit it is the norm, and not the exception. Maybe that's not the case for you, but it certainly doesn't make me a bigot for suggesting it as a possibility.
    rohvannyn replied to Web_M_D_poster's response:
    Precisely, which is why I am making a point NOT to do that. Instead I thought about the question.

    I'm very glad you meant the question in a genuine sort of way, instead of in the way that I usually experience. Basically, when someone says something about men and women being designed to be attracted to each other, usually it is followed by a fire and brimstone lecture. I was making a point about how I am not calling you a bigot, rather considering the question. I hope this clarifies things.

    'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
    Web_M_D_poster replied to rohvannyn's response:
    It does. Thanks.
    Jenntonic1 replied to rohvannyn's response:
    I couldn't help but read your conversation. I find it strange that I even found it. I came here to WebMD to look up some medical stuff. I usually come here from time to time not to participate in any discussions or forums, but to read and educate myself on physical ailments, signs and symptoms of various illnesses or just to look up information regarding different medication and such. But I have to tell you that something drew me here to this moment and to this conversation. I didn't find any other info, I just opened this webpage from my bookmarks and happen to see something about relationships and realized there were conversations going on and I wasn't aware. I saw this topic on relationships, something about see what others are saying about how to get closer in your relationship? And I saw this picture of two women back to back, and I thought 'Hmmm? Surely, not a conversation about two women working on how to make their relationship work? Does that even happen in open forums, where our relationships with our significant other, domestic partner, or same sex spouse can have real, open and honest dialog for a change, without ridicule or feeling like someone wants us to consider a theory for a moment that it isn't in the "norm" that a woman may not be physically and/or romantically attracted to another woman?" Well, I realized that we can have that open discussion, I just didn't know it was going to happen today? Fascinating...

    I've read all of the replies to your question or shall I say your concern and regard for your relationship. It is very obvious that you love her to no end. Actually, when I first read your post for a moment I thought did my wife write that or perhaps another version of myself wrote that? The things you say feel so familiar and rather normal to me, that I had to speak. I hope that's ok? So, here I am, a complete stranger who understands and feels what you go through. Every single person on this planet does too, they just haven't realized it yet or won't admit it. Nonetheless, a relationship is just that, a relationship. Emily Dickinson said it best "That Love Is, Is All That We Know Of Love". The fact that you are here, discussing this, talking this out, is a step in the direction you want to head. All, I can do and what any one should do is tell you that you are not alone. There are no right or wrong answers. There are only choices and the outcome of those choices. We get to decide what we will and will not allow. You get to decide how far you are willing to go, how far you're willing to push or pull before enough is enough. I, too love my wife to know avail. She completes me without question. We've been through similar trials. And at the end of the day, there she is just has beat stricken as me. She suffers as I suffer, she loves as I love. The same for the two of you, I bet?She chose you and you her. Sometimes, talking about a thing that burdens us can release it from the prison within allowing the time to heal. You've already grown so much in the last two weeks, I mean you now have a signature with a lovely inspirational quote attached. That speaks volumes, doesn't it? The Law of Attraction doesn't say that opposites attract per se, it doesn't say that human beings were designed to be attracted to the opposite sex, either and producing spawn is an entirely different subject. However, the Law of Attraction merely states that whatever we throw out into the Universe is what will come back to us. Apparently, you threw something out there 8 years ago that brought you together. Reflect on that and then you'll be able to affirm once again what you have and what it is you're looking for. Regardless, you're still together and when you look deep inside, you honestly already know why and that it simply is. There's no grand mystery, she knows who you are as do you. There's a reason you are inside your head? I am, too. Think about what's changed that concerns your present thinking? What really threatens your bond?

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