No More Free Milk from This Cow
Q: I have been with my girlfriend for 3 years. We have had sex from probably the first month until now. Now she is saying that she wants to save herself until marriage. She was previously married and had a child before she got married. Why is it different with me now? It's very frustrating being around her and knowing that we can't do anything at all. Am I wrong for still wanting to be intimate with her and being upset at the suddenness of this change? I hope she knows that I am a man, and I do have needs. It would be one thing if she said from the beginning that she doesn't want to do anything, but after 3 years?!? -- George, 27
Dr. Susan: Ah, George, I can see that you're frustrated and confused, and that you have no idea why a woman would suddenly shut down and say, "No more until marriage." But is that really so difficult to understand? After all, she's already had one kid and one marriage, in that order. Maybe she's been thinking about her situation for a long time and either didn't tell you or you never caught her hints. I get the feeling she might think that three years of dating is enough, and now she wants the security of marriage, most likely with you. After all she's still happy to see you, just without sex. Not that marriage is only for the security: It's also a way of bringing a relationship to the next level, a way of showing your commitment. Now you have a hard choice to make. Do you love her? Do you want to marry her? Or is she just a convenient girlfriend who has been fulfilling your sexual needs and not making too many demands of her own? Certainly she knows you're a man, a man with needs! Apparently, though, she wants something more from you than she's been getting, and you have to figure out if she's worth sticking with even without sex, at least for the time being. Of course, it should go without saying that the two of you ought to be talking openly, and without anger, about all this.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.