When You're Not Attracted to Your Partner

Note: If you would like to learn how to feel more love and attraction for your partner, check out my new program, which will begin again in February 2014, called “Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner.” 

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It seems to be one the last taboos: alongside admitting that you’re not over-the-moon about being engaged and whispering to a friend that your desire for sex with your partner is at the bottom of your to-do list (yes, it’s become a “to-do”) is stating that you don’t find your partner physically attractive. What? In a culture that worships physical beauty and encourages you to place attraction somewhere near the first or second spot on a list of non-negotiables when choosing a marriage partner, admitting that you don’t always find your partner attractive is considered blasphemous and certainly a valid reason to walk away. So when clients and e-course members broach this topic with me, it’s with a great deal of trepidation and guilt, as if they’re committing a cardinal sin.

My first line of action is to reassure them that it’s normal and more common than they think. They only have to access the numerous threads on the e-course forum to see that they’re far from alone in this area. It’s not something that’s discussed in Cosmo and Vogue, but it’s a line of thought that’s alive and well in the psyches of thousands of women and men. My second line of conversation is to begin to break down the flimsy definition of attraction that our culture propagates. Because our culture is obsessed with image, we define beauty only as what is apparent to the camera’s eye. It’s skin-deep, or less than skin-deep if you consider the amount of makeup, airbrushing, and photoshopping that is involved in creating a magazine photo. We carry this definition of beauty into our intimate relationships and assess our partners through this lens. We may consciously say, “I don’t expect him/her to look like a magazine photo,” but we nevertheless define attraction by the superficial criteria that we’ve absorbed since birth. How can we do otherwise? Cultural conditioning runs deep and it’s only with a great deal of awareness that we can re-wire these habitual ways of seeing.

So if attraction isn’t based on physical appearance, what is it about? It’s about essence. It’s about the person you see when all pretenses fade away. It’s about the light that emanates from his eyes or the radiance of her smile. It’s about seeing soul instead of personality, the sustaining beauty of true nature instead of the fleeting beauty of a pretty face. It’s about what draws you to your partner, what connects you, what makes you say “yes” to him or her and no to everyone else. It’s about that place that feels like home, when you can sit next to each other immersed in engaging conversation or content in comfortable silence. I often encourage my clients to eliminate the words attraction or chemistry from their vocabulary – both buzzwords and anxiety-spikes – and instead ask, “What draws me to my partner?” Let’s understand attraction like a magnetic pull instead of in terms of superficial beauty. For we’ve all known people who appear typically beautiful but as soon as they open their mouth, the spell is broken and their true, toad-like nature is revealed. And we’ve known the opposite scenario as well: the person our culture defines as physically unattractive but whose essence radiates such love, warmth, clarity, and goodness that they’re transformed into the fabled prince or princess.

One of my clients, who found me six months before her wedding in the pit of a dark depression, said to me in our session last week, “It’s amazing how attracted I am to my husband when I’m connected to myself. It’s like two essences talking to each other; the superfluous BS just falls away and I’m able to bat off the negative thoughts like an annoying fly. When I’m disconnected or in a projection I think, ‘Ugh. I can’t deal with that feature.’ But most of the time I look over at him and see my handsome, loving husband.” This client has been profoundly committed to her own process of healing and understood within minutes of our first session that her happiness and loving feelings were her own responsibility. Her commitment to managing her internal critical voices of fear and judgement have led to a consistently loving relationship with herself and, by natural extension, a loving relationship with her husband. In other words, when she sees herself through the lens of truth, clarity, and love and connects to her own essence, so she sees the same in her husband. Two essences talking to each other.

When you’re in the thicket of anxiety, it’s not likely you’re going to feel attracted to your partner. In these moment, I offer the following practical recommendations (as I offered on the e-course forum in response to one of the highest viewed threads called “Attraction”):

  • Carry a photo of him that shows him at his very best. When you’re only seeing him in a negative light, pull out the photo and have a good look. At the same time, carry a photo of yourself at your very worst to remind yourself that you’re not perfect either. We all have good days and bad days. We can all look beautiful or scary. Carrying around both of these photos will help change your perspective and remind you to focus on his physical beauty as well as your own humannness.
  • As one member mentioned, try to find one quality that you love – his hands, her lips, his eyes - and focus on that.
  • Remind yourself that when you’re over-focusing on the attraction issue, you’re probably avoiding something else – especially if you know that you’re attracted to his essence. Say to yourself, “I’m in a projection” and then ask,”What feeling am I avoiding by focusing on this right now?”
  • Watch “Shallow Hal.” It’s such a great movie for revealing how much our culture focuses on the externals and loses sight of essence. It can take a LONG time to reverse this cultural conditioning, but it’s possible.
  • Remind yourself that attraction comes and goes (just like the feeling of love). No one is always attracted to their partner. That’s just not the way attraction works.

Another member of the e-course, who’s getting married in two weeks, recently shared this inspiring revelation, which shows what happens when you take the fear-bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground, thereby sending it the message that you refuse to allow it to run this show:

I have a few revelations in the ‘attraction’ department, my arch-nemesis! Maybe this will help others who are experiencing projections. It’s so weird but I feel like the tables have turned on me here. He is still the same person, but I seem to have changed. Because he didn’t fit my warped mould of ‘perfect’ I was withholding a part of myself that I feel is critical to attraction: emotional intimacy. I was sort of punishing him for making me feel angry when he wasn’t doing anything to deserve it. My ego said – it’s ‘your’ fault, because you are not Mr Perfection (obviously I was not yet done getting over this fantasy). As soon as I realised that my ego was in the driver’s seat, demanding perfection, I kicked her arse and said, “Wow ego, you’re really unattractive – go get some humility and start appreciating him for who he is, share your self more and stop expecting him to make you feel a certain way. You’re going to lose a really really great guy if you keep this up.”

It occured to me that this was more than just lack of being attracted = no intimacy. It was my shutdown that was preventing ME from being intimate with him – thus, shutting down a vital connection that is way more than physical. So yeah, reporting that ‘it’ was kinda my ‘fault’.

This whole attraction thing has been so ‘over the top’ in my head for so long, it’s weird having this new window to see through; I mean, I have dated many different guys, all of them have been different, no one has been perfect. I never had this anxiety over them!! It was more that in my head, the place I reserved for my husband was one that had to be perfect. Now, my partner is pretty perfect so WHY this need for a Mr Perfection? Sure, the Hollywood stereotypes played a HUGE part, but the inner child was SCREAMING something and I only have just started to hear her, and it’s to do with being visibly protected by someone bigger than me, physically, because of so much crap I, like many of us, have experienced in the past. And so, I think, this need to be with someone who could put ‘certain people in my past’ in their place, was important to my inner child. I had to tell her that I DID have someone that was going to protect me, that my partner was WAY better than anyone else I’d ever met at protecting and nurturing me emotionally as well as protecting me physically and that I as her Loving adult could also protect her.

Since then there has been excellent progress made :)

The bottom line truth is that beauty fades over time. If you’re going to remain married to someone for sixty years, you’re going to see hairlines recede, boobs sag, bellies pooch, hairs turn grey. And if you’ve picked your partner primarily because of the way he or she looks, you’re going to have a very hard time sustaining real attraction over the long haul of marriage. Real attraction, like real love, is sustainable, solid, and grows over time. It would behoove you to learn about it now.

Thank you to my client and e-course member for their permission to use their quotes.

180 comments to When You’re Not Attracted to Your Partner

  • Adelina

    This post came exactly at the right time!For some reason,you always write about things that bother me exactly at the specific given time, Sheryl.It is so terrifying,though,that as soon as I have finished reading it and absorbing it,I still come back to some of my unpleasant thoughts.I can’t help thinking why I can feel the love for him, unconsciously do all the things I do for him, yet,I don’t feel the admiration,the excitement and the passion which are such an important part of my life.I believe I have made the right choice,I can see our yet not established wedding day,my graduation and all those important life events but I’m out of touch with reality now.Since he is my reality all the time(at least,he was until this anxiety kicked in),I’m frozen and lacking any motivation or ability to get excited.:(

  • Milla Atkins

    Here is an authenticity challenge: I would ask that you and all of the women who follow this blog never again publish an airbrushed photo of themselves. Not in a video or photo on facebook or any other social media. This is how we will not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

  • Lauren

    I agree with Adelina completely on this one – this post came at the best time. My fiance and I just got into a discussion over this exact problem last night (God love him for listening to me and my anxiety over this stuff). It is a really scary feeling to not be attracted to your fiance or to not ever ‘be in the mood.’ I have been trying to work on it, but I’ve placed so much anxiety on the physical intimacy that now the thought of it makes me not want to do it! What’s crazy is that towards the beginning of our relationship, this was never an issue. Any more help on this topic is most appreciated. Thank you again Sheryl.

  • Harriet

    Thanks for this – it’s not directly relevant to me at the moment but I still got so much from it and I hope the wisdom stays with me.

  • Adelina

    I am so with you on this one,Lauren!The happy bit of it is that we are both lucky enough to have our men listen to us in a supportive way rather than jumping to hasty conclusions.It is indeed scary,especially when I am at work or at home while he is away and I get enthusiastic and feel an energy pouring into me,almost feeding my attraction to him…or when I look at photos and get the warm ajd fuzzy feeling…and then,the horrid moment:he comes home and I go blank!It’s terrifying.When you say you can’t be intimate,do you mean sexually or just spending time together?To me,both spike anxiety.How would you detail your experience?
    Adelina

  • Hey Sheryl! Brilliant post and definitely needed in our collective dialogue about romantic partnership. Your clients show so much growth and insight. And I loved this suggestion you made:

    Remind yourself that when you’re over-focusing on the attraction issue, you’re probably avoiding something else – especially if you know that you’re attracted to his essence. Say to yourself, “I’m in a projection” and then ask,”What feeling am I avoiding by focusing on this right now?”

  • Beth

    I too experience this… Like Adelina Sometimes spending time with my Fiance I find myself “not in the mood” but then as soon as we are apart or I look at a favorite picture of him, I get those same warm and fuzzy feelings.. Or crave him…

    But when we are together, he can just do anything, which under normal circumstances is just just day to day tasks- And I will be annoyed, or turned off. Whats that all about?

    He is the most caring, non hurtful, non game playing partner I have ever had and yet sometimes I crave for him to be less sensitive, more feisty and almost more of a “jerk”… I know that sounds crazy.. But he is so accommodating sometimes that I almost wish for more “jerkness” to drive some passion…

    Then again perhaps that feeds into the notion of what really is lust? Longing for something that isnt really there, the hunt of the chase?

    Like previous emotionally un-available boyfriends? Sure I craved and lusted for them, but I also had to chase them… Was that passion actually mistaken for the highs and lows of always wondering if he will be there for me? Faithful to me etc?

    I think I read on one of these anxiety posts previously about craving ex-boyfriends… About reminding ourselves that there was a REASON that those past relationships didnt work out.. Those relationships which now seemed so passionate in comparison to our current relationships with our Fiances… They didnt work out for a reason, those guys were emotionally unavailable- They didnt WANT to marry you in the end…They kept you guessing, But you mistook that as real passion, with living on the edge of your seat not knowing what their next move was going to be..

    I have learned that is not passion. I REMEMBER NOW, that that was the REAL anxiety.

    My anxiety now, stems from the unfamiliar sensation of letting my guard down. Knowing that I CAN let my guard down. This person chose me. Wants to be with me. Loves me for me. I often mistake that for boredom, settling, lack of passion.

    As for passion- Hummm we are working on that. I try and remind myself of that when I start to notice my flawys.. My own bumps and lumps- lack there off… Or even more so, obsess on any of his “shortcomings”. Him not being my Physical Ideal. I try and remember that if even the “homeliest” couples people can have great sex, then its must not be all about what you look like, its how you connect.

    ANYONE is capable of making the other person FEEL good. Even better is having a partner that understands that and will work with you to become great together in that department. If he is open to incorporating certain OTHER things to get you there. Unselfishly working together through trial and error to help you figure out how to get there, together.. Or one at a time..

    • Oh wow, Beth, are we similar!!

      I too, have usually had UNavailable boyfriends. This one can be too, physically, because he has two boys who also need him. But he is always there for me emotionally, something I have never had before.

      Even just last week, I was longing for what I used to feel with one of my exes, and then had to “wake up” from that nonsense. That guy was super selfish in the end when the rubber met the road!

      My boyfriend now has a very handsome face, but in the past 2 and half years we’ve been together he has put on about 40 or so pounds. I really don’t mind it on his body, but I have to honestly admit that I don’t care to see the extra weight around his neck and face. Besides that, it makes him snore now!! lol!

      I’ve put on some weight too and he says he can’t even tell. (lying?)
      He honestly does seem to not care about that. I know he loves me for ME.
      I want so much to be able to offer him the same consistent, unconditional love!

      I felt relief to find that someone else feels annoyance at their wonderful boyfriend for no good reason. I feel just awful about this. (Well, there are times when there is indeed good reason too! But I still need to keep in mind what a good guy he really is).

      He is so much more forgiving and better able to overlook shortcomings than I am.

      Is there hope for me to change???

    • Rich

      Hello Beth,

      I wanted to get an update on your progress, did you find the spark again. I’m a husband who is feeling what you felt. I love my wife but not so attracted to her. Any tips would help. Thank you

    • Tina

      Thank you so much for writing that Beth.
      Everything you just put down resonates with me! EVERYTHING!
      I don’t feel much better but I don’t feel so alone and abnormal for feeling this now

    • Kat

      Beth, I can totally relate! I’ve only been married for two months and I’m already having the anxiety you expressed. It helps to know that I’m not alone in this as it seems many other people feel the same way. Thanks for writing that!

  • KK

    Great article! It’s so hard to live in a culture that makes such a big deal about being “attracted” to your partner’s looks. I have struggled with this issue for mostly the whole relationship. I’ve had family members and friends ask, “How can you be with such a skinny guy?” In the beginning I used to answer, “It’s not his fault and he has a very wonderful personality and looks aren’t everything.” It’s like people think I’m crazy for saying it or something. After listening to it for so long I begin to think with their mentality and I don’t want to! It causes a lot of unwanted pressure and anxiety when you have to be surrounded by people who think that if you aren’t crazy about your partner’s looks that you shouldn’t be with them at all. He knows that he is a skinnier guy and it tears him apart when people even rip him up about being skinny, and the deepest part of me realizes that outer images don’t matter. It’s almost like sometimes I wish I were blind so I could stop judging based on appearance! I’ve always said it’s what’s on the inside that counts the most. I don’t wanna ruin a good relationship just because of physical appearance! I’m so glad to hear others are experiencing this as well. The only other people I hear that experience this are the ones that leave the relationship. I think leaving just because of looks is a selfish act. Anyone agree?

  • Adelina

    *Beth: You pointed out exactly what I thought about this afternoon: maybe if he was a bit ‘jerky’ I would get a bit more excitement into me…maybe!It’s an interesting phenomenon inside me:whenever he was a bit grouchy(he was never jerky to tell you the truth) I would be upset and he would come round and apologise warmly.Because 2 of my previous boyfriends were just not serious material(despite of the long relationships I had with them), I don’t really know what it was like to wait for the call,long for the attention or shake with excitement in that lusty way.With my now-fiance I have had another type of lust,the lust of waiting for him to come home,getting all warm and fuzzy when seeing him on his lunch break,or anxiously waiting for the week-end.Since this depression set in,I can’t find those feelings,I am almost absent most of the time.The morning finds me in bed thinking:why did I just not think about him now?Other times, I get excited about seeing him and a thought instantly jumps in my head reminding me that I am ‘supposed’ to be anxious and should carry on with my lifeless ways.Recently I have experienced 2-3 days when I was quite normal in terms of my life,but still scrutinised myself for not longing for him enough.
    Like you said,when you have your guard down,and you consciously let it down,it becomes a self-inflicted pain.I am sure we’ve both had our boring times in the relationship,and I’m sure that neither of us have always thought about our fiances with excitement all the time, just that now with the engagement the whole concept has increased in stake.In fact,nothing has changed,but our controlled fearful minds start working on anything that can possibly be wrong.Do you have the feeling you are not yourself?I certainly feel de-personalised with all this going on and I can genuinely feel what it was like when I was ‘normal’(fuzzy when I look at a photo,or remember a holiday),and think:why can’t I be like that now?

    • Brianna

      Adelina, I feel exactly the way you do about not being yourself and not being “normal.” I think back to those days and just wish with everything that I have to be that girl again. The girl who would get so giddy just by looking at a picture of my boyfriend. The one who knew that nothing could ever come between us. Now I’m in so much pain because this anxiety should have never happened. This emptiness feeling is coming between us. I miss the feelings you miss.

  • Adelina

    *KK: If you love the fact that he is skinny,you love it because it’s paired up with a lovely personality,I’m sure.My fiance has been said to be skinny and talk slowly,but that’s what makes him HIM and not somebody who’s fabricated out of an idealised image.

  • KK

    Adelina: I like that way you put it! Sometimes it’s very hard for me to accept that he doesn’t have to be the perfect image that everyone expects. That’s what causes me the anxiety. When I really think of it I think how I’m so happy he’s different than all the other guys out there. To me, his image shouldn’t be a big deal.
    It also doesn’t help that people are telling me that I need to date around. I’ve been dating my guy since we were in high school and we are now in college. He’s such a great guy and we have a lot in common, but the fact that everyone keeps telling me I need to date around is causing me a lot of extra stress and anxiety. I spoke to one of my supportive friends the other day about it and she put it like this, “Why would you date around when you have something that most women look for almost all of their lives.” She put it very well for me. It almost makes me sick to my stomach to think of losing such a great guy just because of anxiety. He’s definitely the kind of guy that I would want as a husband and father for my children. But yet my anxiety is telling me to leave because society is telling me I’m not normal and should leave the relationship to go “exploring”. It’s like it’s some kind of taboo to date only one guy and commit to him, well that’s what almost everything (besides here) online has told me. You would think I wouldn’t have this anxiety because I know I don’t want to go and date a bunch of random people because I know I would lose something so special to me. It’s tough.

  • Adelina

    KK:It is very poisoning to hear people advise you exactly the opposite of what your ethos with your current relationship is.The fact is,relationships on tv,radio and in magazines have become so disposable that people now swear by experimenting and making yourself available and independent as much as you can.If it’s only the physical qualities you are worried about,I wouldn’t lend an ear to these things.If it’s the character of your fiance,completely different issue.You haven’t mentioned absolutely anything so far so I think you couldn’t really point out anything of that sort.Your friend is saying exactly what a friend should say in your anxious state,however people are entitled to have their own views on relationships.If someone wants to date endlessly and not commit,it’s a personal choice.If you are comfortable and feel very good in what you’re in,it’s your choice,I think.
    I moved in with my current fiance after 3.5 months of dating,and we’re approaching 2 years.Obviously, if I listened to peoples’ advice,I wouldn’t be here now.There’s always a doubt,and I had it too,it did take some convincing in my case as well,but luckily it was all very reasonable and rational.So,I had the same anxiety as you,then.I was unsure and a bit scared,but because of the novelty factor,it was a blander uneasiness.In your case,you have known him for a while and I think you’ve trialled the relationship,so all you hear is contradicting with what you know and have seen.
    I actually wish I had your anxiety(somehow swap):I have nothing to complain about,and everything was a dream and heaven until engagement(something we both had planned). Now I’m confused,numb,can’t enjoy anything and always churn on what could possibly go wrong,why I’m not flying to greet him when he’;s through the door and why I feel cold as a block of ice.And to make it worse:he’s just being great. TOUGH,like you said.

    • dorothy

      Ah, It is a relief to know that other people have the same feelings. In most posts, women seem to feel close to their man, even if they are anxious. I am mostly stressed by the fact that I cannot enjoy being with him the way I used to. I even thought I was in depression, because I really dont seem to feel or enjoy anything lately. Not feeling the warmth from him freaks me out. I dont feel myself anymore.
      How did you deal with this problem? Did it pass? Did you start feeling normal with him again?

      • Anon

        I am currently experiencing something similar. I’ve always struggled with anxiety( since childhood). However , since about two weeks after engagement, I also have been experiencing times when I feel numb, nervous, unable to enjoy it all. The worst thing is that I beat myself up over it. I tell myself that I don’t deserve him because I have anxiety and he does not. I recommend not doing that. That will only cause more distance. Just know you are not alone. Like te original poster, I also have been in several other relationships in which I did not feel
        Anxiety. I was lusting after guys who did not truly appreciate me or want to fully commit. It was a chase. Now that I have a man who is head over heels for me, I’m frozen. I am critical
        Of him ( he also is skinny – although tall and thin is what attracts me, I have become critical
        Because of what society and the media portrays is attractive). Friend, know you are not alone. Choose today to enjoy every moment, don’t look back and don’t think to much on the future, for those of us with anxiety it’s best to be here now. My thoughts and prayers are with those of you struggling with the same thing as me. Lets choose to let go of expectations and enjoy the beautiful lives we have.

  • KK

    Adelina: I couldn’t agree more with you. It’s like anxiety makes you a totally different person. I’ve had anxiety since I was a kid and a lot of it stems from fear of rejection or abandonment. I had a lot of insecurity issues my first year of college and it drove him off the edge. We were broken up for about 6 months but we still stayed close friends, it was like we weren’t even broke up. I remember wanting to get back with him and make things better. We got back together and things were great because I worked on my insecurity and we worked on better communication. Everything was going fine until about October of this year and he started to act distant. I began to panic because I thought he was going to break it off with me again. We talked about it and he said that it was just because he was busy(which he was very busy) and was stressed out. My rational part of me knew that everything was okay and it was just my anxiety and insecurity but for some reason I started ruminating and searching for answers online. It sent me in such a tailspin deeper and deeper into a territory that I didn’t want to be in. I started self doubting because of what others say about having doubts in relationships, and this led me on and on into anxiety city. Instead of me panicking about his love for me I began to panic about my love for him. I somehow wound up on here…even though I’m not engaged I feel like it all applies to me. I also think that I’ve always had slight ROCD (relationship ocd). Things are slowly getting better now that I recognize that what I want is to stay in the relationship and that things don’t have to be perfect like everyone always says…sigh.

    • Brianna

      I wish I was panicking over my boyfriends love for me, but like you I’m panicking over my love for him. He is the most amazing thing to ever happen to me! Everything and more that I’ve always wanted! I just want this pain to go away. I felt more loving in the beginning of the anxiety then I do now. I’m so empty and emotionless. The anxiety comes and goes now. I wish I can go back in time to all those moments when I knew how much I was in love. And some of those moments were just a few days before the anxiety. I just want them back! It was all in my head! But these empty feelings I just can’t accept.

  • Adelina

    KK:Yes!It makes you a different person.A person you would never want to have around you or want to be.Last night my anxiety reached a peak after a long time of idleness and just quiet ‘incubation’.Me and my fiance decided to have a quiet night in and watch a movie.I think, halfway through the movie,I just started to feel uneasy out of nowhere and the thoughts came back again,like a ton of bricks falling on me:why do I not feel connected,why do I feel uncomfortable,why am I so sad all of a sudden?It was gut-wrenching,I tell you.Felt like I was honestly going insane and couldn’t even rationalise properly.At some point we just decided to go to sleep because I had a bad headache on top of everything,but I had to work hard to be able to fall asleep.As always,I started going through all the strategies that I’ve learnt here but for the first time,nothing made sense and I got really scared.
    I think all this has to do with what you said:ROCD.The beginning of my nightmare was the day I realised that being engaged might bring trouble and boredom(again,due to ‘lovely’ examples from all around me -i.e. divorced/separated couples) and started looking things up.WORST mistake of my life.From there on in,I can just copy and paste your words,exactly the same tailspin.Small issues became mountains and doubting my love for him were first on the menu.It’s also scary how much pressure I seem to put on the physical side of the relationship,attraction and intimacy,so now when it comes to it,I’m terrified of doing anything and also get paranoid that I’m possibly shallow if that’s all I can think of.
    It’s good that you found this blog,I think it doesn’t really matter whether you’re engaged or not:if you’re in a relationship that’s in need of a bit of care,this is a gold mine.I have found all the information here so useful and comforting,even though I’m actually starting to realise that it’s not just the relationship posts I should be focusing on,it’s also final year stress(I’m about to graduate)..

  • Janelle

    Hi girls! You both should seriously consider joining the ecourse. Your conversations are so similar the one we are having : ) Hope to see you there!

  • KK

    Adelina: I can agree on everything once again. I feel so judgmental about looks, attraction, and intimacy. I feel like I’m looking at him with huge binoculars looking for bits and pieces of imperfections. I can relate to you about graduating. I’m not graduating but he is and this worries me. I worry that now that he will be in the “real world” I will be stuck in the “college world” and that things won’t work out for us. Everything is shifting and changing and it’s hard to handle. I pray continuously to stop judging the way he does things or the way he looks. I have struggled with this throughout the relationship but the difference is is that I was able to say, “Hey it’s okay because he has a great heart and he’s a great guy.” Now I can’t just say that it’s like I need to check if I’m right or wrong. Once again…ROCD issues.

    Janelle: I wish I could join the ecourse, but I’m a very broke college student…

  • Adelina

    KK:Binoculars is the exact word.I think if you can remember saying ‘he’s a great guy with a great heart’,that sentence still lives inside you.I’m convinced,fir instance,that things will go back to normal,but I try and give my thoughts a good critical assessment,to let them go through the sieve.It is sooo hard!It’s like having this great,lovable,adorable man and as soon as you approach him,you hit a stone wall.Changes in our lives make this stone wall even harder to demolish.I’m graduating just like your boyfriend,my fiance is already in the real world,but not managed to go to college yet and everything is out in the unknown,so I know exactly what you mean.Do you ever have your moments of clarity,when you don’t feel under the strain of anxiety?If yes,is it when he’s around or away?
    Janelle:I wish I could afford the e-course…I’m a skint student.:(

  • KK

    Adelina: It’s so weird but most of my moments of clarity come when I’m not with him. I’ll just be walking down the street or something and it will happen for a split second and go back to intrusive thoughts again. When I do get clarity then I wish he was around because I want to share love with him but then when I’m with him I go on judging him again. I just want things to turn around. I want to become a better person. I know all of these problems aren’t about him, it’s all me. There’s something inside of me telling me that if I can be a better person I can view the relationship in a new way…I just don’t know how to get there.

    • dorothy

      I was just waiting to read posts like that. I see you wrote it a year ago. How did you get over it?

      • Summer

        Dorothy. I am experiencing a lot of these same issues discussed in these comments but I also see that they were published a year ago. I would love to talk to someone who is in the same place. Is there a way for us to connect?

        • Summer: Many of these people have found their way to the Conscious Weddings E-Course where they can connect in the safe space of the forum. I’ll also be offering my new program, “Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner” in a few weeks. If you’d like to learn more about it feel free to email me directly.

  • Adelina

    KK:Totally agree.It’s very annoying and exhausting not to be able to NOT think when he’s around and just get on with the daily stuff.It would be good to just forget it all and get back to how things were.In the meantime,he’s just being great,supportive and loving.More than that,my fiance doesn’t really see it because I’m trying my best to be normal.It’s scary!!

  • KK

    Adelina: Yes! He’s so kind and loving and like you said he doesn’t really see it because I’m trying my best to not show on the outside what it going on in the inside! I really hate it. But I guess the advantage of all of this is that I’m learning that a lot of my ideas of love and relationships has been warped for far too long. I’m so determined to learn how to love him the right way. I have to keep reminding myself that thoughts are just thoughts. I choose to be with him even if I don’t feel 100% sure because I WANT to be with him…

  • Adelina

    KK:Spot on!I just had a conversation with my fiance now and we got around the subject of discussing my dad whom I never had a close relationship with.Although my parents are not separated and my dad’s brought his bad habits into the family when I was a kid(too much partying,drinking,arguing),I learnt to swallow and get over it.I was always living with the thought that my dad was not good enough. because I would hear it in the arguments between him and my mum,and now
    we don’t speak much apart from the basic ‘how’s the course’,'how’s the work’ and other casual things.I feel uneasy around him and if we were left in a room together,we probably would struggle to find a conversation topic.I know little about my parents’ relationship with each other and never seen them really cuddle while I was living at home.I was telling my other half about this and he said he could see that my fear was that I would bring this ‘emotinal baggage’ with me,fearing that our relationship would turn out the same.He hit the nail on the head there.It’s shocking what floats to the surface when you start digging into depressionand I think there are lessons to be learnt.Like you say,if youWANT the relationship,you stay in it and fight as long as you can….this reminds me of that post earlier on Sheryl’s blog:Dr. Pat Love saying ‘Feel the feeling but stay in the relationship’.We make our own reality and by going back to repairable past realities,we can move on with the present.It’s weird how clearly I seem to master the issue now,though,because when I’m with my fiance or just pondering,a tailspin starts and most of the time it feels like I’m watching a movie and I don’t even feel anything or value interaction.

  • KK

    Yeah I couldn’t agree more once again. I know the problem lies within me and it has nothing to do with my boyfriend. It frustrates me that when I’m with him all kinds of negative thoughts race through my head and I don’t want them anymore. When I’m not with him I have so much hope and so much determination to love him, but then I get the negative thoughts too. I just want it all to go away. I love him and I want to love him. I don’t want to judge him any longer. If I could control my ROCD things would a lot easier.

  • StephanieG

    I agree with Janelle. You guys should join the e-course!

  • KK

    I wish I could. I can barely afford to live right now haha

  • Lauren

    I share the similar sentiment of warm fuzzy feelings when my fiance and I are snuggling or when he’s away, but when it’s time to really get intimate, I turn cold (as Adelina so rightly describes it). I haven’t figured out why that is, but it gives me serious anxiety to think I could not be sexually attracted to my partner for the rest of my life. For me, that’s probably the root of all my anxiety, or at least what I hang my hat on. I love being with him otherwise and spending time together (outside of the bed). Any suggestions?

  • Lauren: You said that at the beginning of the relationship this wasn’t an issue, which means you have everything it takes to have an alive and passionate sexual relationship. There are two prongs to dealing with it: One – move toward him even when you don’t want to. As you said, the more you think about it, the more paralyzed you become. If you move beyond the thoughts and into action, you might be able to break through into your truth again. Two – Try journaling about why you might be shutting down sexually. Are you shut down in other areas of your aliveness? Do you feel sexual in your own self? The sexual energy we bring to a relationship is a reflection of our own levels of aliveness in our bodies. If you’re shut down or bored in your life as an individual, that’s how you’re going to feel in your relationship with your partner.

  • Lauren

    Thanks Sheryl! I think the second prong is a great point. Recently, we’ve started working out again and I’ve felt more alive and more sexual in general because I feel good about myself. It’s not the rut of coming home from work, cooking dinner, and watching TV (which is nice sometimes, but absolutely boring). I am going to start journaling about it and get more proactive about keeping my life active and fun too. This blog and your material is so helpful!

  • SB

    KK and Adelina: Thank you both for having the courage to lay your feelings on the table (or on the blog in this case). I have been where you are and although I still struggle with fears, I for sure hit rock bottom about 1.5 years ago (yeah… its a looong process).
    One thing that is the scariest thing to suggest BUT could really help: talk to your men. Even if you just start small, it will help you. Not only will you feel more connected, but you will be surprised at how they react. Its super scary, I get that. But I will tell you, my turning point was when I started being more open with my fiance.
    Secondly, it sounds like a lot of your thoughts stem (at least in part) from an idea that you should ALWAYS be attracted to your partner. My fiance and I have been together for five years. I am not always wanting to jump on him. believe me. This idea that you should always be feeling fuzzy about your partner is part of that fantasy gift our culture gives us (i.e. you will find “the one”, always be happy, and live in a romantic comedy for the rest of your lives). Its just not the truth. If you cut yourself and your relationship some slack, you may be able to see more of the truth (whats important).

  • Adelina

    Abedul,Lauren and SB:thank you for sharing on this post,again!These words bring me back into a corner of reality and make me remind myself that there is still work to do and I am not completely lost. I recently started seeing a therapist and it started easing off my terrible anxiety that had been churning inside me for weeks. I told him about Sheryl’s work,and the calming effect it has on me and he applauded everything about it (not that it needed reassurance but it did give me a good kick).Now, this attraction issue I have been dealing with has taken a very different shape or since last time I posted on here about 2 weeks ago.From the painful and almost desperate effort to try and get my feelings shown to my fiance to a level where I would re-read the text messages I’ve been sending him and notice how cheesy they actually are… my entire behaviour has shifted into an almost serene isolation where I just want to sit and knit all day and have him around for conversation and relaxation.We’re currently visiting my parents abroad so this is holiday for us.Last time we came here(3 months ago) I felt terribly happy and excited around him.That was before the engagement.Now,I’m just ‘blah’,or get snappy and irritated at what he says,although I thought my projection phase was going away.Now it’s not physical,or anything specific,I’m just plain indifferent and when this thought comes to.me I get scared that this is it,this will be it forever.He can also sense something,which scares me the most,and he says I’m not as ‘alive’ as usual.I can’t help fearing that all commitments turn out like this,that I will never feel the excitement and sensuality again,that his always funny nature will just annoy me forever and I’m doomed.On the other hand,when we talk about future plans for the next holiday,I feel relaxed and joyous.I only start getting anxious about the future of the relationship and my lack of libido when I wake up or before falling asleep.I feel like I’m in a never-ending vortex. :(

  • Adelina

    Sorry,that Abedul was meant to be Sheryl. Autocorrect!!!

  • SB

    From an outsiders point of view, it sounds like your are in a “protection” sort of mode. What feelings are below this indifference? That is where you need to go to work through it (I know, it is VERY scary). It seems like you are protecting yourself from feeling something (whether that be fear, joy, doubt, or all of the above). Real love (not what our society tells us is love) is scary and sometimes we hide behind indifference, anger, or judgement to keep ourselves from really going there. Only you can take yourself there and only you can work through it. You have to look these thoughts in the eye (so to speak) and face them. Journaling helps.
    Also, try to get off the “forever” train. You can only deal with what is in front of you. I know the idea of forever is scary (I struggled with this and the fear of “will we like each other in 20 years?” right after we got engaged), But this is what gave me hope: Both my fiance and I are good, honorable people who love and respect (Notice I didn’t say, “are HOT for” or Lust after) each other. That is all I can promise and all I can work towards and hope for. You can’t deal with 20 years because you aren’t there yet. These thoughts are just another protection that you are setting up. Find out what the true feelings behind it is.

  • Kate

    I came across this site a couple of months ago when I was frantically looking on the Internet searching, “how do you know when you are in love?” and “am I attracted to him?”. This site has made me feel so much better!! But I was just wondering if anyone ever feels “I’m still young, does this mean that what im feeling actually doesn’t apply to what’s om this website, does it mean I’m not anxious?” I also say to myself  ” I’m not engaged, so does this means what’s on this website doesn’t apply to me? What is wrong with me then?”  I am in college and I have been with my loving, generous boyfriend for 15 months now I know deep down how much I love him I just feel so anxious a lot of the time and I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to feel this way! I am so lucky to have him! I feel like he is the right guy for me and it scares me so much!! 

  • Scottish Bride

    Adelina – what you are describing is EXACTLY what happened to me this time last year. I was head over heels with my boyfriend, waiting excitedly for him to propose after 2 years of dating (one living together) and when he did I felt like I was outside my own body. For days after I felt this nameless pressure building up inside me. I felt disconnected, panicky, confused, disorientated, soooo sad, frustrated… until it all came to a head with the first panic attack of my life. I am now happily married but it’s been the hardest/most amazing and profound year of my life! I cannot recommend the e-course enough. I’m still on it every day and the support that we all give each other is priceless. I know it’s a lot of money and I’m not trying to pressurise you to spend money you dont have but i think there is an instalment payment option. All I would say is that my real work only began when I joined the course in October last year. If things dont get any easier for you, please take comfort in knowing that there is a whole community that are available to help you through this. If you really can’t afford it right now then please know that you are NOT alone, that these feelings do NOT mean you’re with the wrong person and that it is possible to get through this and reconnect with your partner.

  • Adelina

    Ladies,it is so comforting to come on here every day,have a refresh on my judgement and learn a lesson all over again.
    SB: When you say that it looks like I’m in a protection mode,you’re absolutely right; in fact,my therapist reached this conclusion on the very first session. During that session I found it very easy to break through what the anxiety was telling me in coded language, because it was coming from my childhood(disconnected from my dad, grew up with grandmother and having confusing feelings about my real ‘carer’, the lack of visible love between my parents, the way my unwillingness to sleep on my own was treated and generally just a tense atmosphere in the house because of so many arguments). When I raffled through all these memories,I realised how many of these shape my fear of becoming the product of a miserable, boring and disappointing marriage. Now, up to the point where I managed to redirect my attention to these things, I think I had been in a panic state of wanting it to go away, of looking for reassurance and constantly worrying about what I might find if I start digging things up. Following the advice on here, I decided to genuinely try and be compassionate towards myself and just let the feelings run through me, until I cross over to the happily married life. It is indeed, so scary to just learn without trying to judge too much or mistake the wounded self for the core self. It got even scarier when I came home to visit my parents with my fiance for a week and my mood has turned into the numbness I thought I had already experienced. While before I was worried that in time I might be annoyed with him, irritated with his jokes and shut down completely in terms of sex, now it feels like the prophecy’s come true. I don’t want sex, I’m not affectionate or very warm – hours can go by without me feeling the desire to touch him or just act as I used to. We’ve lived together for 2 years and what we had was very soon after we moved together not just ‘lust’ but admiration.,desire and genuine longing to spend time with each other. At the moment, all I can think of is how unattainable these are on long-term basis,despite my 2-year long belief that these were realistic, and it shuts me down,makes me uninterested and bored out of my own life…
    Scottish Bride, what you. just said here made me so happy,and lit my face up!My nightmare started with a panick attack that broke out of nowhere one morning about 2 months ago,and since then I’ve been feeling like sitting a very long exam or twisting in my sleep not being able to wake up.Generally, my energy has come back so I.can do my work and day to day tasks(I’m sure that’s thanks to the antidepressant my GP prescribed after I told her I’d not eaten for 6 days) but I see my relationship as lacking attraction on my behalf. He is the same loving person and it kills me that I’m spiritually absent from our togetherness. It feels good to know that I’m not alone,although I wish nobody had to go through this at such an intensity.I can’t wait to get some money in to get on the e-course,I’m just paralysed by my own lack of presence and normal passion. I’m not very gifted with patience so I can’t stop wondering whether I do something wrong that might slow the recovery down. I just want to get my life back as it was, and be able to say that I’ve had an eventful and purposeful year like you!

  • KK

    Kate: I had the same thoughts as you and am also in college. I too think, “I’m not engaged so this must mean it doesn’t apply to me right?” All I know is anxiety is anxiety. I don’t think it matters whether we’re young or old or in a relationship, engaged or married. I don’t think it matters what stage you are in anxiety can still attack you like it seems to attack the engaged or married people on this site. It all comes down to the relationship anxiety regardless. That’s just my thoughts though.

  • learningtobeconscious

    Kate and KK – if I had only found this site when I was in college, I’d have been so much happier! My issues with relationship anxiety began in college (well, probably in high school but it didn’t matter as much then :P ) and it took me YEARS to realize it wasn’t the guys, it was me. There is just no way I could have the exact same anxiety about the exact same things with completely different people – in EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP. I’m now nearly 27 and in a serious relationship (I’m not married or engaged, either!) and it’s the first time I’m truly dealing with this anxiety and fear surrounding marriage/commitment/etc. I think it’s great that you guys found this site & started working through these things at a younger age!

  • I just want to let you know that I’ve recently added a new payment option for the e-course that allows you to pay in four installments. Hopefully this will make it more feasible for those of you in college!

  • Kate

    Thanks for replying KK and learningtobeconcious, It’s great to have some support after hearing from friends and te media that its not normal! I look at all the articles here on concious transitions and I feel ‘this sounds just like me’ but I have never known if this was anxiety or not! I’m sick of feeling this way everyday! Some dad I have great days others not so much!! So ladies a question how do I know if want I’m feeling is I’m fact what this website is all about, and is in fact fear or if it’s just because I am unsure! Before my current relationship I was in a verbally abusive relationship and as a child I had separation anxiety! I had a great childhood otherwise.. Which makes me wonder! My boyfriend is so caring, generous, love able and I can’t believe there is someone like him In this world who could love me this much!

  • Victoria

    Hi there,
    I just read this whole article and the comments without realising that this is a forum for engaged people or newlyweds… I’m not engaged but have been with my boyfriend about a year and a half and have some troubles with physical attraction and lack of passionate sex in my relationship, (as well as going through periods of disliking him when I’ve got PMT to the point where I doubt it will work out), even though he’s the most caring, supportive and loyal guy I’ve ever been with.
    Do you guys think this e-course would be suitable for me?

  • SB

    Kate: I am so sorry you are struggling with this question right now.
    Let me tell you, I have considered that question no less than 100 times. It is a scary one to think about. Here’s the thing through: Usually you know if it is wrong. Please don’t let that spike your anxiety because it’s actually a good thing. As Sheryl says, fewer than 5% of her clients are in this position. The question that helped me is “Are there any red flag issues? (i.e. abuse, addiction, control, constant disrespect) If not, you probably have a good partner who as you yourself say is “so caring, generous, love able”.
    This has NOTHING to do with your partner and everything to do with inner work that you need to face. You would be feeling this way with any partner once you got into the “scary zone” and that comes at different stages for everyone (dating, pre-engaged, engaged, post wedding).
    Again, this is not about your partner. If it was, there would be major red flag issues. Your mind is playing fear trick on you to keep you from doing the true work of facing the feelings deep down. I know, because my mean mind does the same things to me. I know it is scary but you need to try to push past the fear tricks and try to understand what feelings are below them.

  • SB

    I wanted to tell you that just reading the post I just wrote when i said “Usually you know when its wrong” caused my anxiety to go up too!! You are not alone in this, ladies. Phrases like “I just knew he was the one” and so on, have caused us think that something is wrong with your relationship when in actually, its just that there is inner work that needs to be done. The mind plays horrible tricks if you allow it to. The great thing is that you have the power to push past these knee-jerk responses to fear and uncover the true feelings for me: Fear of my fiance dying or leaving me. See it is a lot easier to just tell yourself that everything should be perfect and when it is not, something must be wrong. It is easier to do that then to go deep down into the caverns of your mind and uncover the fears that you, Kate seem to have had for a long time (I say that because you mentioned separation anxiety, something i have also always struggled with).
    You are not alone, and this has nothing to do with the caring, generous, and love-able man you are with.

  • KK

    SB: You hit the nail on the head for most of us in saying what you did. It’s so comforting to know that I’m not the weirdo in society that is freaking out about my relationship. It’s so sad that everywhere I try to look (especially online) for answers to my questions such as, “How do I know I love him?” “What if he’s not always physically attractive to me?” all of these questions being answered on the web all say to leave. That’s what spikes my anxiety. Almost every blog/article I’ve read has said, “Do your partner a favor and leave so that someone can love them both emotionally and physically.”(Sorry if that spiked anyone else’s anxiety because it always spikes mine!) All of these types of comments put doubt in my head. What ever happened to a culture that married for love regardless of looks or chemistry or whatever? Isn’t companionship enough anymore? Our culture is sick and has caused me a lot of unwanted anxiety. What’s so bad about choosing a partner that is a great man all around but doesn’t have the perfect body or perfect looks?

  • Kate

    KK thanks so much for helping me!! I feel so horrible even writing the words saying ‘maybe I’m unsure’! I’m so terrified! I just want to be happy with my boyfriend without all these complications! Is it really normal to feel confused about having such an amazing man! My parents love him to bits and so do my friends! My mom is quite supportive telling me how happy he makes me and telling me that she knows I love him and everything! But I feel like I should know this all for myself! I know deep down how I feel I think, in the beginning of our relationship, the first 5 months, it’s was such a whirlwind! I kept thinking this is the man I am marrying and being with forever! I have never felt that happy in my life.. But then i started constantly worrying…nothing has changed with him, he is exactly the same now to how he was in the beginning! Now I just cry all the time when I’m with him, not sad tears, but tears of what seem to be fear of not wanting what we have to end by me maybe screwing it up! My boyfriend tells me I won’t screw it up because he knows how much I love him…. Do does this mean that I apply to what you ladies feel on this site… Do I have relationship anxiety? It truly is me and not my amazing boyfriend??

  • Kate

    Sorry thank you SB!!!

  • KK

    Kate: It sounds like relationship anxiety to me. I feel for you as I struggle with it every day. I’ve struggled with it off and on for 5 years with my boyfriend. It’s like little voices inside my head nitpick and judge every wrong thing he does yet I fail to focus on the many many positives that outweigh the negatives. In fact all of the negatives are hardly anything compared to what others have to deal with in their relationships. I fail to remember that he could nitpick and judge me just as much as I do him and I would feel terrible. I keep thinking well maybe I should leave and get out so I can feel better but I know the minute I would do that I would feel 10 times worse. And besides that something inside me knows that I want to learn how to love the right way with him. I don’t want to lose a good relationship because of my anxiety. I’m working on looking at my relationship in a more positive way.

  • Kate

    Thank you so much KK! I feel so much better already!! The way you feel is exactly how i do! It feels so good to know im not alone! The thoughts have been unbearable the last couple of days.. Somehow I fixate myself to one particular thought and I can’t let it go! Thank you so much for your support! How are you going with getting over your anxiety! How are you doing it?

  • Victoria: I have no doubt that the ecourse would benefit you enormously. It’s the best course of action anyone struggling with relationship anxiety can take, whether partnered, engaged, or married, and more and more people are joining the course who aren’t engaged or married. You’ll fit right in!

  • KK

    Kate: The only truly helpful thing that I can think of that has helped my anxiety was to only stay on this website. Whatever you do don’t go googling about your relationship because you will find very negative answers! Read all of Sheryl’s articles on here they help! And also do what Sheryl suggests don’t just read them actually apply them.

  • Adelina

    Ladies, definitely do NOT go googling about relationship problems!One thing that definitely ‘helped’ me dig myself into a hole of panick, depression and anxiety was starting to look for answers on different websites.It is so scary how easily we identify ourselves in stories we hear or read.I think it’s safe to say that you never know what goes on in one’s life and 2 situations are never the same. Sheryl points it out so well when she writes about negative projectionvs. positive projection!Finding this blog was the best thing I could ever have done and I can’t wait to join the e-course when I can afford it.I’m so bored of feeling outside of my own body,tired of thinking that my relationship is under the microscope and fed up with nit-picking my fiancé!I just want it all to be back to when I was comfortable and full of positive energy.

  • tropikalgirl

    Adelina – reading your posts reminds me of how I am. I am now married to a wonderful man with 2 beautiful children. The only thing is my anxiety has returned and am now seeking some help to cope and understand. Talking with my husband has also helped but he needs to be someone who is stable and strong. I have also seek help from the website and as soon as I come across anything negative, I try and find 5 more positives to read about. It is so easy to spiral downwards if you let yourself. Our minds are a powerful thing and it can mold any thoughts to what you want it to be. I stay at home with the kids 3 days a week and it is because I have more time now that I started to analyze which then leads to my anxiety again. Just remember the person you have beside you who you can count on everyday of your life.

  • Adelina

    Tropikalgirl: I know how hard it is and every time I see somebody saying that their anxiety has returned, I just get more depressed and anxious thinking that this is something I will never get rid of. Today I’m not too well and my focus has shifted back on my partner to an extent where I start imagining what it’d be like if I just left…almost indulging in fabricating scenarios of me ‘not missing him’ and it becomes so believable that I want to crawl under a rock and never come out. I am absolutely helpless when controlling my mind…

  • tropikalgirl

    Adelina – I know what you’re going through today and I feel sad for you. I’ve gone through that myself but know that if you left, you would find someone else and be happy for a while and your anxiety WILL come back with that person too. Not sure about yourself, but I have done this with every person I have dated until my husband. With him, it just started 9 years later. I’ve always been an anxious person so I know it is not him. Try and steer your mind back today and love who you’re with. Take care of yourself…

  • KK

    I think everyone should take a look at this article by Dr. Glenn Berger! It coincides with fear and not opening up to loving! It addresses the “attraction” and “chemistry” issue and it really opened my eyes! Check it out, it is what everyone needs to hear!

    http://datingtipsforfindinglove.com/instant-chemistry-or-attraction-can-stop-you-from-finding-love/

  • chantel

    im so glad to have found this website.. im going through really bad relationship anxiety for a year now. im in such a wonderful relationship with a man who is so loving, caring and just perfect in every way… and he is a very good looking well built guy who all my friends think is really good looking. however, a year ago, after he said the words ‘i love you’ for the first time i had the biggest panic attack ive ever had. all i wanted to do was run away from him. this was such a shock to me as all i wanted was to hear those words from him. but once i felt like he loved me and got close to me i freaked out. for a year now i have been dealing with these feelings of ‘do i really love him’ on and off and im going through a really bad bout of it right now. my parents love him and my mum keeps telling me that i love him but why cant i feel it for myself? ive gone to a therapist and she said its because of my abandonment issues and i block my emotions so i dont get hurt but i even question that and think maybe i just dont love him n e more and i am just trying to fool myself so i dont have to go through another break up. i guess i just need reassurance as hes such a wonderful man and id be a fool to lose him because of my anxiety. im really at a loss with this :(

  • Erin

    I’m not sure how I missed this post, but this seriously hits home right now. I was horribly anxious while I was engaged, but through reading this blog and The Conscious Bride I was able to get married and feel good about it. However, after nearly nine months of marriage, the anxiety has returned to this very topic. I find myself extremely anxious when faced with any physical intimacy and it has started to make me question if I’m physically and sexually attracted to my husband. This was never a problem early on in our relationship, which just makes this harder. I have tried to just power through the anxiety and do it despite how I’m feeling and it works… sometimes. When it doesn’t work and I can’t just relax, I panic even though my husband is understanding and supportive. Even talking about this makes me anxious. I’m not sure what to do or how to combat it.

  • Erin

    I’m going through this projection right now. Despite being married nine months with little to no anxiety, it’s back again with a vengeance. I was terribly anxious during my engagement, but with the help of The Conscious Bride and this blog I was able to get married and feel good again about my relationship with my husband. Any time I am about to be physically intimate with my husband, I sort of freeze up with panic. I usually try to power through it and do it anyway, but in the times that I’m not able to relax and enjoy it, I spiral into a huge panic. I start to fear that I’m not attracted to my husband physically or sexually. This was never a problem before we got engaged, but it is now. It just terrifies me and I’m not sure how to deal with it.

  • Anna C

    Thank you so much for this post Sheryl. I had to go through so much terrible advice online before I came to this but I am glad I persevered.

    • The internet is certainly a double-edged sword: so much dysfunctional information and then a place that speaks to you. I’m glad you persevered : ).

  • Shauna

    I stumbled on this post while trying to find answers on how to deal with my issue. This is a very good post, but my situation is a bit different. My husband is 31 and I am 28. We’re newly weds and my husband is very handsome and attractive. He’s very manly yet he has great hygiene. I’m slowly losing a sense of attraction to him when he started smoking again (he quit when we first started dating). He always smokes outside or in our car with the windows rolled down so I don’t always smell the stink. My biggest problem is how it’s affecting his voice. He’s always had this sexy deep and clear voice but now that he is smoking so often nowadays, I’ve noticed it’s beginning to change into something that is very off-putting to me. He goes to fire academy in a few months and he was talking about “possibly” quitting when that starts… I’m really counting on that to make him stop because he won’t quit for me. I know he’d be really hurt if I ever told him that I think I’m starting to lose some attraction for him due to his smoking and I certainly don’t like the feeling of being less attracted to my husband. I just don’t know what to do with my feelings and how to deal with the ugly way I view him as a heavy smoker. I tolerate his habit (I never complain about his smoking and don’t bug him to quit) but I don’t know if I can ever truly accept it especially if it changes his beautiful voice and causes major risks to his health.

    • Yes, this is a different situation. When I talk about practicing acceptance and cultivating tolerance of our partner’s so-called “flaws”, I am NOT talking about accepting an addiction. There’s no way that his addiction to cigarettes can or should be attractive to you! All you can do is express how much you don’t like it and try to take care of yourself as best as you can.

  • debra

    Dear Sheryl,
    My boyfriend (of 3 yrs.) and I share many wonderful things such as friendship, respect, core values and interests. However, from a very early point in the relationship he told me that I was not his “body type” and that he struggled to feel sexual feelings towards me. Perhaps I should have exited the relationship right then and there, but since he possessed so much other stuff which I was looking for in a partner and, since he convinced me that he was working on “reframing” this problem of HIS we should give us a chance. Well here we are three years later and lovemaking and deep intimacy are still an issue and problem for us.
    In addition, he has struggled with intense, life changing, chronic back pain and I have struggled with serious financial issues. I believe that this added stress has only contributed to our focus on the shortcomings in the relationship. Neither one of us has been particularly happy so that doesn’t help. Nonetheless, I do believe that his lack of attraction towards me is mostly what’s kept us from experiencing deep intimacy, the kind which comes from looking past the superficial and really connecting with the other person’s soul. I think that for years now I have put a protective shield around me because knowing how he feels I have not wanted to get hurt. I believe he has put up a shield as well and so the result is that we are now doubting if we should be together.
    I am so torn because I do love him and I know he loves (many things about) me, but you can’t make something organic such as physical attraction manifest. I suspect that this lacking in our relationship is always going to be a problem for me as I really do want my partner to “WANT” me. I struggle to accept that this is a part of who I am and one of my core needs with struggling to move past it and prioritize the long list of good stuff; after all, attraction is constantly shifting anyway right? i should also add that on top of the physical stuff he is also telling me that he considers me to be a highly neurotic person ( i disagree) with habits he is questioning in terms of our staying together. ugh….who wants to hear that!!!!! it was bad enough when it was just my body.
    so confused…so sad….
    thanks for any advice
    Debra

    • It sounds like the struggles in your relationship extend far beyond the question of physical attraction, as is often the case. It sounds like, while he’s saying that you’re not his physical type, that he also doesn’t see and value you who you are as a person. I hear that he’s making attempts at reframing the physical stuff and expressing his love, but does he really love YOU – the essential you that goes beyond body type and neuroses?

  • debra

    ps…in reading this back, i feel as though i may have made him sound like a “jerk”, like the kind of guy you should dump because they don’t appreciate you and are always putting you down. that’s really not the case here. he does try to show his love for me in various ways, and he has been working on reframing his feelings around the physical stuff it’s just that it’s been three difficult years and not much has changed.

  • debra

    Thank you for getting back to me Sheryl. I think your question is the million dollar one. This is exactly the question and concern that I have and the reason why I have stepped away right now from the relationship. I am really not sure if he loves the essential me. He has a lot of personal pain (literally) because of his chronic back problem and I am not sure if some of his complaints and worries about me being right for him are stemming from that foggy viewpoint. I know first hand that when we are not happy with ourselves we look to blame others, I’ve done this quite a bit with him and I am clear about that. I constantly strive to gain more awareness and understanding of my thoughts and actions so that I can fully accept and love myself and have complete responsibility for my feelings. I am clear that I love the essential him, however I am not clear if those feelings are reciprocated and that has been hard to live with.
    ~It takes quite a lot of honest self examination to see with clarity what is truly going on. I hope time will provide the answers for us.

  • “~It takes quite a lot of honest self examination to see with clarity what is truly going on. I hope time will provide the answers for us.”

    With the level of insight and personal responsibility that you’re showing, I have no doubt that, with time, your answers will become clear.

  • debra

    ;-} thank you.

  • I believe this post has just saved my relationship, my wife and myself thank you all dearly!

  • Ericka

    This whole blog and all of the comments (especially from KK and Adelina) have really helped me so much to see the things I need to work on with both myself and the relationship that I want to mend. I am not engaged (I am only a high school senior) however I feel like all of this applies to me. I recently ended my relationship with my boyfriend of almost 2 years because of my severe anxiety. I focused too much on pressure from the media and others telling me to either date around more and experiment or to find ‘Mr. Perfect’. I was too blinded and influenced by all of that to really see the amazing relationship and guy I already had. My boyfriend was not the perfect guy that the media always portrays, but he treated me better than and loved me more than anyone ever has and I could honestly see myself having a long future with him. Things were great the first half of the relationship and then once we hit one year, things started to go downhill as the relationship got more serious. As we started to let down our walls and really connect fully with eachother, I started to get anxious. I was scared to fully let my guard down, because I was afraid of being hurt. So I started to talk to friends and others who have been in serious relationships and I started to take their advice too seriously and think of it as the only way to solve our problems. A lot of the advice was along the lines of him not being good enough or me not having dated enough guys to know what true love is. So, I allowed myself to be overly concerned with what others thought and that caused me to become more distant from him which caused the physical and emotional attraction to be more difficult to find. He noticed and became hurt and upset and scared that I was all of the sudden treating him this way. My anxiety did nothing but made me angry at him for thinking things were wrong and kept me from seeing what I needed to fix. In the end, I had stopped thinking of his well being all together and let my anxiety take me over. I thought that everyone else was right and that I should end it. So I did, and it was the worst decision I’ve ever made. But after reading this blog, I know what I have to work on and I know that it has to start with myself and I have to first love myself and get rid of my anxiety to realize the amazing guy I let go. Hopefully he will give me another chance after I hurt him so badly. I really love your tips, especially the one that recommends carrying the best picture of him and the worst picture of myself. I think that will really help me. The other part of this blog that I identified with the most was the personal story from a member that was getting married in two weeks. I really felt like I was going through the same kind of thing, especially when she says: “It occured to me that this was more than just lack of being attracted = no intimacy. It was my shutdown that was preventing ME from being intimate with him – thus, shutting down a vital connection that is way more than physical. So yeah, reporting that ‘it’ was kinda my ‘fault’.” This specifically showed me that this is all my fault and I really need to look at myself and work on me before I go to him and ask for a second chance. Thank you so much for this blog, it really helped me and I hope it works.

  • Ericka

    Also, any further advice from any of you wonderful bloggers would be much appreciated (: I could use all of the great advice from you guys that I can get! Thank you so much.

  • Rgigi

    I have also been searching the net for this topic and so glad I found this and hope it will continue. This is so profound and so many comments fit my situation. I have been blessed for this wonderful guy to find me again. I say that because, he had a crush on me since jr highschool, and I’ve been out of school for 30 yrs! We just recently became involved and it’s been wonderful. I’m at a time in my life that I so desire someone to treat me the way I deserve and should be treated, someone who loves me with all MY flaws. However, I haven’t been accepting of his. Just because he doesn’t fit the stereotype as attractive as the media and others see it, I’ve been guilty. I find myself even saying to others, he may not be attractive but he treats me like a queen, trying to make others look past the outer appearance and give me some justification. I feel so guilty for doing that after reading these post. I love the article that says, to carry a picture around of him at his best, and one of yourself at your worst and believe me I have some pictures that aren’t so flattering. In addition to him maybe not fitting the outer appearance of society, he also talks country as he was raised in the south. I even find myself correcting him and a girlfriend told me to stop doing that because that’s who he is and I shouldn’t correct him in front of others, which I haven’t done as I will be introducing him soon to my friends. My little pet name for him I call him, my country bumpkin and he just laughs and even says..baby i’m your country bumpkin lol. I was with a guy previously and he made me cry so much, hated that I cried, and we argued most of the 4 long yr relationship, he never tapped into my feelings and emotions and now I have someone that take heeds to all of that. I think I’m just thinking of what others will think and say and I definitely have to put on my big girl panties and not care what they think. I have someone that loves me, have a great personality, and wants to make my world a lot easier……..

    • I’m so glad you found your way here. As you’ll quickly see as you read through the other articles and comments, you’re far from alone – and sometimes just that fact can ease the anxiety enough to move forward and not allow fear to prevent you from opening your heart to someone good, loving, kind, and has everything that matters in a partner.

  • Rgigi

    Thanks Sheryl, Since I’ve read the other comments I most definitely feel the anxiety easing up a bit and it is very wonderful to know that I am not alone. In reading this it has been a real support. It especially continually remind me of how he does have everything that matters in a partner, everything that I desire, want, and need. I can certainly understand all to well w/ Beth in saying she wishes “he would be more of a jerk” I guess I’ve dated so many jerks, it’s almost like that’s what I am accustomed to and now that I have someone that treats me the way I should be treated, scares me within itself. Thanks so much to all for your post and transparency and to you Sheryl for even putting this on line to find.

  • Linda

    Oh Sheryl, finding your website and e-course has been an absolute godsend…it really is a shame I didn’t find it a lot sooner. I’ve been engaged to my fiance for almost 3 years…we still haven’t set a date because of my crippling anxiety (started a couple of weeks after we got engaged and I had my first full-blown panic attack when we were only a phone call away from booking a ceremony venue!) Last year I was told I had all the symptoms for GAD but it wasn’t until I found a better therapist that she really started helping me with some revelations about my relationship anxiety. Two really important points she made that I really want to share for others in a similar boat – Emma (my awesome therapist) said that if you think of your mind like a big grass field, and the negative thoughts are like a path that you walk (for me it used to be every day, sometimes dozens of times a day). If you walk that same path every day, you will create a well-worn track and so every time you come across a trigger that spikes your anxiety, you will automatically go down that well-worn path of negative thoughts – the path of least resistance. As Sheryl says, it’s about replacing a fear thought with a truth or a more positive statement – then over time, the grass will grow back and it won’t be such an automatic reaction to start sabotaging your relationship with those negative thought patterns. The other nugget of gold she gave me was “stop creating rules for how you think you should feel” – it sounds logical enough, but I’ve done this for as long as I can remember…as soon as she said this to me, it was like a new dawn…when I became conscious that I was actually doing it, I was able to free myself from a lot of pressure and unrealistic expectations. Now I can confidently say to myself that I don’t have to feel loving toward my fiance 24/7 – sometimes I feel annoyed, frustrated, scared, worn out…and sometimes that has nothing to do with him, and all of that is okay! I am actually to the point now where I am thinking (happily thinking!) about our wedding, and even starting to talk to my beautiful, ever-patient man about it! My anxiety is still very much a work in progress and I still have bad days, and I’m sure that will be the case when we set a date as well, but there is hope of pushing through to the brighter side of life, and this e-course is just validating that for me. Apologies for the long-winded post, this is my first and it’s just such a relief to read similar experiences. Oh, my last tip is – stop googling!! I too have spent hours searching for answers on “how do I know we have enough chemistry”, “am I in love” etc etc…this only helps spike your anxiety and takes you deeper into your negative thoughts with the reams of unprofessional opinions out there…work through Sheryls e-course instead!

    • Thank you for this fantastic comment, Linda! I’m delighted that the combination of the e-course and a wonderful therapist has set you on the right track (it usually does : ) ). I absolutely LOVE your therapist’s metaphor:

      “If you think of your mind like a big grass field, and the negative thoughts are like a path that you walk (for me it used to be every day, sometimes dozens of times a day). If you walk that same path every day, you will create a well-worn track and so every time you come across a trigger that spikes your anxiety, you will automatically go down that well-worn path of negative thoughts – the path of least resistance. As Sheryl says, it’s about replacing a fear thought with a truth or a more positive statement – then over time, the grass will grow back and it won’t be such an automatic reaction to start sabotaging your relationship with those negative thought patterns.”

      Brilliant – and it might show up in another blog post sometime soon!

  • DCS

    Thank you so much for this Linda. I too have been having huge difficulties with relationship anxiety since getting married 3 months ago (after being with him 5 years and never having a doubt about the relationship!). My therapist says it is a symptom not a cause and that I am projecting anxieties about other things (mainly family problems that have been going on for a long time) onto my husband. Your comments about always going down the path of least resistance and creating rules for how you should feel really rang true for me. I know rationally that I love my husband and that he is perfect for me but the anxiety is making me doubt everything, I constantly worry I am not feeling how I “should” be feeling. I am now on antidepressants which have helped calm me down a lot and my depression has mostly lifted but I still can’t stop the thoughts completely. I will keep fighting until I do though as I know my husband is completely worth it! I hope you find some peace and can start planning your wedding soon. At least you can deal with all this now and start your married life on the right foot x

    • “My therapist says it is a symptom not a cause and that I am projecting anxieties about other things (mainly family problems that have been going on for a long time) onto my husband.” Your therapist is right on target, DCS. And it doesn’t matter when relationship anxiety hits – dating, engagement, during marriage – what matters is how you address it. It’s always an opportunity for growth and I’ve come to realize that there is great wisdom in the timing of when psyche presents this challenge. Trust that you’re exactly where you need to be and keep moving forward with the work that you’re doing.

      • DCS

        Thank you for your encouragement Sheryl. I am having a horrible time at the moment, I can’t stop obsessing that I don’t love my husband and that I don’t want to spend forever with him, when I know I would be lost without him and there is no one out there better suited to me. This all stemmed from a random thought of “what if I don’t love him?” around 4 months ago just before our wedding and I had a panic attack and nothing has been the same since, despite never having a doubt about our future together in the 5 years we have been together. I keep fixating on his looks and picking out flaws and panicking because I think I’m not attracted to him, but I know I am because I still want to touch, kiss and hug him like always. It just feels like it will never go away and I’ll have to get a divorce but I know that would destroy both of us. I have been having psychotherapy for 3 months and she is sure this isn’t anything to do with him and more to do with things that have happened in my childhood (I’ve grown up with a very depressed father which caused a lot of problems in my parents relationship and I’ve never been sure that my mum loves my dad and also a sister who has grown up with a serious illness which she has been in and out of hospital for all her life) but I don’t feel like I’m getting very far. Is there anything else you can suggest I try? I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and given antidepressants which do calm me down but I also just feel flat and numb now rather than severely depressed. I can’t stop thinking that my gut is trying to tell me to leave as the relationship isn’t right for me and that I shouldn’t have to try this hard.

  • This doesn’t sounds like your gut, DCS. Have you considered the Conscious Weddings E-Course? It would work beautifully in tandem with the therapy you’re already doing.

  • ScottishBride

    DCS – my heart goes out to you. Your story sounds familiar in lots of ways. I cannot recommend the e-course enough! There are lots of people on there who can provide wisdom and support and who could benefit from yours also.

    Linda – if you have done the course, why haven’t we seen more of you on the forum?! Don’t be shy now :-)

    • DCS

      Thanks for your messages. I have considered the course but I work for a charity and having 2 private therapy sessions a week is already stretching me financially. I just can’t get past the thought that if he was the right person I wouldn’t be having all these doubts. I just want to be happy with him again but I’m scared I just want him to be the right person but he isn’t, but I have no evidence to back this up,just a feeling of it not being “right” that came and hit me all of a sudden.I’m so confusd,anxious and down.

  • Linda

    Hey Sheryl, please do feel free to share my therapists analogy for a worry-prone brain – if it helps even one person understand this anxiety from a different point of view then I would feel like it would be one person I’ve helped in a way! And to the ScottishBride, I’m actually only a few sesssions in, so I haven’t near finished it yet! I’ve taken a lot out of what I’ve read so far though, and I still need to get brave enough to set a wedding date, so you will be hearing more from me, I promise :)
    To DCS, I really feel your pain…it has taken me almost 3 years to make sense of this anxiety (still getting there) with the darkest stretch in the first 2 years of our engagement..my thoughts and doubts were similar to yours. I’m glad you have a therapist who’s helping you work through those things from your childhood – working through my childhood and a past, emotionally abusive, long-term relationship has enlightened me so much about my attitudes and behaviours, and has made me a lot more aware of my own actions. When I started to make these connections (I call them my lightbulb moments!) and understand why I think or act in a certain way, I could consciously start to work on breaking down the destructive thought and behaviour patterns and replacing them with healthier habits…it’s a work in progress and probably the biggest learning curve of my life :)

  • DCS

    Thanks for your response Linda. I am in a bad place right now,I’d started to see some glimmers of improvement but I have gone downhill again quickly in the last 2 weeks. I just look at my husband and am terrified at the thought of spending my future with him and can’t feel my love for him,yet I feel like my life would be over without him. Surely if you can’t see the future with someone there is nothing you can do about it though?He keeps mentioning about us buying a house,something I was looking forward to before this happened,now it fills me with anxiety and dread even though we’ve been living together for 3.5 years and things were great.There is no reason for me to feel like this as my husband is amazing so I just keep coming to the conclusion things aren’t right and I’ve made a mistake. I’m so tired of being exhausted,depressed and anxious, I feel like I can’t win.

  • Erin

    Thank you for this, really.

  • sandra

    This article should contain one really important caveat: This is true only in the absence of abuse. If a person is becoming aware of how abusive and controlling a partner is, then it is natural not to be attracted and this advice is exactly what NOT to do. It is healthy not to be attracted in that case.

    • Absolutely, Sandra. However, it’s important to distinguish between abusive and controlling. Emotional, physical or sexual abuse are red-flag issues that warrant getting professional help or leaving the relationship. Controlling behavior, on the other hand, is common in relationships. It certainly needs to be addressed and you’re not going to be attracted to your partner when he or she is being controlling, but everyone falls into their wounded self at times and when you’re partner is in his or her wounded self is not the time to assess whether or not you’re attracted.

  • Tanya

    Wow, I’m SO glad i found this website. like others here, i was googling ‘lack of physical attraction in marriage’. I’ve been married 6 years and sex sometimes feels like something i know i ‘should’ do rather than me WANTING to. I panic at times and i’ve even cried during sex because i am not feeling what i ‘should’ be feeling. sexual attraction was NEVER an issue when we were dating. i think it began to change after he proposed. i had a controlling overbearing father who yelled alot. i grew up walking on eggshells and couldn’t wait to leave home just to be ‘alone’ and not have any pressure on me. i didn’t ever and still don’t have an emotional relationship with my father. we talk about the weather and my car and then there is an awkward silence. yet i have no desire to form any sort of emotional relationship with my father – the less i see him, the happier i am really. which sounds bad! i’m much closer to my Mother. i find it hard to be intimate with my husband – i find it much easier to talk to people online about how i’m feeling or just my close girlfriends rather than talk to him. But he is an awesome man. he was my first real boyfriend and i fell for him completely. he loves me for me and doesn’t expect me to be someone i’m not. he’s not clingy or needy and doesn’t put any emotional pressure on me. he grounds me and makes me feel safe. so i don’t know WHY i shut down emotionally. i don’t even think i’m doing it concsiously but sub-consciously. i know i love him. i don’t want to be with anyone else. but sometimes i crave the lust that others talk about and the emotional intimacy that i share with others in my life – i wish i could have both with my own husband. i’m hearing alot about the ‘e-course’ – can someone tell me exactly what this is and whether it would benefit someone like me or not. Thanks :)

    • Tanya – I’m glad you found your way here; welcome! It sounds like you’re projecting your relationship with your father onto your husband and it’s preventing you from experiencing the intimacy with him that I’m sure you both crave. In order to work this through, you would need to do some work about your relationship with your father, which is an in-depth process that requires time and commitment. You clearly have everything it takes in your relationship to have everything you want; it’s just a matter of doing the work to get there. Without a doubt, the ecourse would benefit you. You can learn more about it here: http://conscious-transitions.com/conscious-weddings-e-course/

  • specialbeauty

    @ Adelina

    you will not believe this but across the world from you somebody is struggling with the same thing!i have rocd,have a boyfriend skinnier than me and get ppl stuff it to my face that hes skinny,family friends and what not!

    i met my boyfriend 2 and a half years ago ,we immediately hit it off,fell madly in love but after 4 months bam anxiety kicked in!my obsessions have ranged from :

    hes skinnier i weigh 147 pounds and he weighs 133!

    i didnt spend enough time single
    didnt date enough guys
    do i love my partner
    is he the right one?
    me being attracted to the same sex (this was torture)
    me looking at other men and freaking out if i found them nice looking and buffer or cuter than my boyfriend(this did my head in)
    me hating my boyfriend
    we are a boring couple
    he doesnt love me enough
    we dont have enough fun together
    we dont have enough sex
    im not attracted to him because he has ; dark circles,is not taller enough than me ,and im 5’4 hes about 5’10 !lol,is too thin,my face is wider than his ,he doesnt have perfect teeth and it goes on and on

    my obsessions change all the time,i defeat one get another its not rest ,been on meds didnt help and now to add insult to injury i found out ive got hypothyroidism ,which made me gain 22 extra pounds,this in turn has made me blame him for making me feel fat ,but in reality i dont just feel good about myself the way i am ,i open my wardrobe and see beautiful clothes i cannot wear,i get tired from heavy legs,i lose breath walking up the stairs i feel bloated and huge next to anyone,the reality is,i thank god my boyfriend isnt bigger than me,because wether he was bigger or not i would still feel fat ,im a health nut and have slacked completely .so who is to blame,my boyfriend for being lucky and slim?even slimmer than me? or me ? what am i going to do?
    move on to the next victim of my insecurity?
    or rediscover the essence the beauty in my partner?hes amazing!and he loves me so much and i feel so loved by him !

    ive broken up with an ex over this reason,the guy i was seeing after him was this buff picturesque guy whom i lost interest in the minute i met my boyfriend,why?because he was self absorbed in his physique and my boyfriend is amazing compared to him!!

    the bottom line is you can either be a victim to society,and to the way weve dealt with things,sure a bigger man will make u feel more protected ,the thing is ive seen many women being battered and abused by bigger men,so really are you more protected ?

    ive always had a thing for skinny guys,even skinnier than my boyfriend!i never was so attracted to buff guys but sometimes obsessions can make u think u are!and its funny because u feel that its fake like in the case with the buff self absorbed guy !i felt it was erm forced fake like i did it because i thought a buff guy would make me happy but he didnt!!!

    now im feeling a force inside of me a big one bigger than my thoughts,telling me nono ur not going anywhere its telling me to change the way i see things to set myself free and i am going to do this ,in the process im not going to make myself a victim,if i felt better slimmer im going to make it happen so im going to change physically and mentally to the better not to cater to my boyfriend but to feel better and to improve my relationship and break down these damn walls hollywood has built around my heart !!!

  • Adelina

    @specialbeauty!

    What an interesting day!I haven’t been on this post for quite a while, as you can see from my posts above but today I just decided to have a quiet read of the articles I really like and seem to calm me down a bit.
    My anxiety started shortly before March and I can tell you, I’m not back to my old happy self,unfortunately. I made very good progress in June,July,August and all it took for my terrible pain to come back was a relative that told me my fiance may have a serious speech problem which could indicate brain damage and advised me to leave him as fast as I can.
    I cried that day, my mum found me sobbing, hardly being able to breathe and while I’m writing this I’m crying. It’s like all these words have set off what’s been churning inside. I’m not sure whether I cry because I’m sorry for myself but all I know is that I just want to be happy as I was before all this started. All I can think about, however, is that he does speak at a slower pace than average, he does seem to pause and slur every now and then and his voice is unbearable to me at times. I’m hurting and I can’t believe how what I was told can change my world to this extent.It’s something that brings me back to what you said:

    ‘,sure a bigger man will make u feel more protected ,the thing is ive seen many women being battered and abused by bigger men,so really are you more protected ?’

    Protection, being perfect and not too skinny are things our projections are trying to cover up, while it could well be other more deep issues we’re masking: a dad that’s never been too close, previous abusive and controlling relationships(which I’ve had), personal dissatisfaction with our physical appearance and health). I totally get you with the Hollywood reference, and I think things should be done for ourselves in the first place, and then our actions will emanate to our relationships.
    Trust me, this road is ups and downs, sometimes as deep as the grand canyon. I wish you all the best on this road!

  • Valerie

    Hi, Sheryle

    I love your website, it is exactly what I am looking for at this stage of my relationship. Me and my boyfriend has been together for almost 3 years. He is a really wonderful guy. He is loyal, responsible,caring, financially stable,and love me so much. He bacially has all the essentials that I am looking for. I feel I can totally be myself when I am with him. We can both act childish, or be silly and laugh together. He is also a good looking guy, however, there is one thing that bothers me during the entire relationship is that he is not very tall, he is about the same height with me,about 5’6. At the beginning of the relationship, I am all over him, and this height thing just bothers me a little bit, but i know that i am happy with him, so i didn’t care too much. I thought over time, this problem will go away.However,it has gotten worse. I think about it almost everyday. I have been googling, and the answer i got are mixed. I think the society always give us a image of a sweet couple with a taller man and shorter woman, and when i look at people around me, i don’t reallys see couple with similar size. I am a person that really care about people’s opion, even a stranger’s! So now i become so axious, and think about it all the time, what if he is not the one, because I crave for a tall man. The guys that i dated before are all tall, and i like the feelings of cuddle with a taller man. It also makes me more feel more secure. Now when i see a couple with a taller man, i just feel so envious, i think that’s attractive and manly. So I keep asking myself is he really the one for me if i care about height so much?

    Now my boyfriend decide that he will be moving to me next year (we have been long distance for a while), I just feel even more anxious, because this is a big decision for him, he need to quite his current job, and find a new one where i lives.
    I know that when I first dated him, i find someting good,he has all the quanlities that i am looking for. But at the same time, it just seems like i can’t get over this height thing. It actually seems pretty rediculous when i type out this whole thing, but it still bothers me. After reading your acticle, i feel a lot better, and i try to see all the good picture of him, and i know he is very good looking, but somehow, on the back of my mind, it still bothers me…

    • Valerie: This topic comes up all the time on the e-course forum, and the crux of the work is about recognizing that your need for your partner to “make you” feel secure is a misguided need: the only person that can create true security and fulfillment is you. If you want to work through this issue, you need to start taking full responsibility for your own security and realize that it only can come from inside of you.

      • Valerie

        Thank you, Sheryl:

        I totally agree with you. I think the security thing is a issue that I need to work on by myself, there is nothing to do with my boyfriend.
        However, when I first start knowing him, I didn’t think of him romantically, because of his height. Only after i start knowing him for 3 months, I begin dating him, and fall in love with him. So I am asking myself:”what if I am really attracted to taller man, and me and my boyfriend is just more like a best friends feeling.” “Is this height thing a deal breaker to me?” These thoughts make me really scared. Because right now, when I see him, I always think, how good it will be if he is a little bit taller, and i will be attracted to him more. I am so obsessed with this, I even look up ways to grow taller natrually… I know if i love him I need to accept him for the whole package, but these thoughts just come to me, and never stops..

  • B Shoy

    Hi Ladies, I know this seems like a mostly women forum, but I am one of the “guy” that you all are talking about, and I want to give a perspective from the other side. My fiancee told me that she wasn’t attracted to me, I am in ok shape, since I work out. I have gotten many compliments and get hit on all the time by women, so I know that I am at least average. I am what you might consider stable, I have a job, my own place, life is good and there lies the problem.

    I don’t want to offend anyone here but keep an open mind about this. My girlfriend has had relationships, that were abusive, she was cheated on, and all that jazz, but she told me that she felt more of a spark for the “bad” guy than for me, she told me that she was also with a stable guy before me and noticed that the same thing happened. So I started to notice a pattern, she had spark for bad boys and none for good guys (me and the other ex “good guy” she dated).

    I am very attentive to my woman, never cheated on her and pay close attention to her, and make sure i give her an orgasm everytime. I am mentioning these thing because woman would look for any excuse to say these things, and thank God, she doesn’t know why she doesn’t find me attractive.

    75% of all divorces are by women filing, and the other 10 percent it’s estimated that they withhold sex from their spouses in hopes that he would cheat on them to justify leaving him. This is an issue that is going uncovered by the mainstream media, but women are responsible for most of all divorces, which makes sense because most men only marry because they know it’s important to the women.

    The society we live in today constantly try to tell us what is attractive and for a young girl growing up, it warps their minds.This is something that should be spoken about more and more, because by share coincident, the same 85 percent of women that are not content, is the same 85 percent of women that have low self esteem.

    And trust me, it cannot be a coincident that 85 percent of women have low self esteem, and that the same 80 to 85 percent of women in marriages are unhappy. Women cannot get the “bad” guy to commit, so do you know who marry them? “nice guys”, so i don’t want anyone to come and justify women’s divorce rates, because trust me,most “nice guys” don’t change, and if they do, the number is miniscule, and she would be happy because he became a “bad guy” and she got to have her cake and eat it too.

    I figured this out because my girlfriend has shown me time and time again that she has low self esteem, when i tell her she is attractive, she reluctantly say thanks, but i can tell that she don’t believe, and it gets hard for us to communicate, and then “Guilt” comes into play.
    She often ask me why i love her, and i always tell her i love her, i loved her personality, and i love her for more than her nice ass, and big boobs lol, sorry couldn’t resist. But she doesn’t believe and becomes withdrawn.

    Soon, she gets resentful not attracted to me, because since she has low self esteem, she believes that i am stupid and i do not know what i am talking about, and that i must be the biggest fool alive (she don’t say this of coarse, but if she doesn’t believe me then i am sure this is what she says in her mind).

    You see the “bad boy”, probably never told her he love her, threat her worthless, and was cutoff to her emotionally. And since these are the same feelings she experience from her low self esteem, she believes that he must love her because he is honestly treating her like she deserve to be treated. Inside of her mind, as crazy as it is, she has come to think that she is in love.

    I thought about it for a month, and then I confronted her and told her that i think she had low self esteem. It took a while and I stood my ground because my relationship was on the line, but she finally admitted that what i said was truth, because she had left the other “good” guy and went back to meet the same “bad” guy who treated her like garbage. And it is slow, but it must be hard, because we are together, and she have to learn to love all over again, i have to show her what real love is, and not that nonsense she experience because of her low self esteem mindset, and we are finally making progress.

    I never commented on forums, but this is a problem i think, is ignored to much in our society, and a lot of confused women are acting out on their emotions and becoming self destructive. I know this may not apply to all women, but if it helps, at least one woman here, then it was worth it. If you want to know the signs of low self esteem visit this site.

    http://www.getesteem.com/lse-symptoms/emotional.html

  • Mike

    This still doesn’t answer the primary question, what if your partners physical appearance has changed, and although you want to be intimate, you can’t feel a physical attraction any more? Doesn’t physical intimacy come from a feeling of physical and sexual attraction, or should you just forget about that? Isn’t the first time most people get together initially driven by passion and a sense of physical attraction or are all the thousands of studies that have been conducted in this field wrong? I love my partner very much but because I was honest enough to tell her something that I have been dealing with, my total lack of physical attraction towards her and therefore lack of wanting for physical intimacy, I am now just a shallow male. She believes that I should love her for who she is, and put aside the things that are effecting me and focus on the positive things. She does however still want regular sex and intimacy, apparently this should just come as part of a normal relationship. I’m stumped!

  • Kelsey

    Hi Sheryl,

    I have the same issue as others do. I have been in my relationship with a great guy for about a year now, the relationship is serious and one we both want to progress to marriage in the future. He is the type of guy I have always wanted. Caring, honest, loving, compassionate, my family loves him, he treats me really good and with respect, hold the same values and beliefs. He is just an all around great guy, not perfect, but a good guy. Lately my anxiety has grown because of his height, we are about the same height and I am taller than him with my heels on. (I know this is so silly when I think about it) But it has made me feel insecure I guess or make me wonder what people are thinking when they see us together. He doesnt care at all, he is very confident in himself. He loves when I wear my high heels and encourages me to do so. Even though I am taller than him. Lately thoughts have been coming in my mind, like “what if he is not the one?” ” What if I never get over the height issue” I mean he is not the tall, perfect built guy I felt that I “needed”. But he has all the qualties I want in a man. I just dont want something like height to ruin my relationship with a good guy.I need your help~

    • Kelsey: This is actually a very common issue connected to the attraction conversation. I’ve worked with several clients and e-course members who have successfully worked it through and are now happily married, so there’s hope! Since you know it’s not really about his height, the next step is to work on what it’s really about, which is likely a projection of your fear with some unrealistic expectations about love and romance mixed in there. I suggest you read through as much of my site as possible so that you start to understand the root causes of the attraction issue.

  • Brian

    MALE PERSPECTIVE.

    For any males reading this, physical attraction is VERY important. If you are doubting your feelings, you should reconsider marriage, this is a biggie.

    Sorry, but from my perspective, if a man does not deeply admire a woman’s physical appearance, there are going to be many years of self esteem issues on her part based on the subtle body language her husband will send. I am 10 years into a marriage where I used my “mind” to reason through why I should overlook appearance and not be so shallow.

    The bottom line, my eye has wandered constantly, I know she has not received the affection she deserves or could have had with someone who adored her appearance.

    • I appreciate your perspective but I think you’ve missed the point of my article! Are you saying that you’re not attracted to your partner’s essence and that you’ve never, in ten years, been physically attracted to her?

  • Stephanie

    I agree with Brian. I am about a 1.5 years into a relationship with a man that is inlove with who I am, but has no interest in my sexually at all. It has greatly wounded my self esteem. There is a lot of body language communication that happens that really hurts. I feel sort of dooped, like if he wanted a boat, he shouldn’t have bought a plane.
    He is a really nice guy that must do all the things you are talking about to stay in the relationship and love me, but still I struggle with staying in the relationship, a life time of someone not being attracted to me and it being a chore to sleep with me every few months sounds awful. All the essence is the world probably wouldn’t change how much this hurts inside.

  • Brian

    Yes, I am saying that I was and am attracted to her essence, we are actually a good fit from a personality standpoint. What I am saying is that I made some compromises on physical features I find attractive in a woman, I knew from day one she fell short in the appearance department. But I reasoned that I was shallow for feeling this way.

    I actually thought the feeling would fade over time, it has not. I do wonder if men are just wired differently, it appears from what I have read that women are better suited to overlook physical appearance issues if the man brings other qualities that women find attractive. His status for example.

    • It sounds like there are other issues in the way of you feeling attracted to her. If you’re drawn to her essence and “in love” with her from that perspective, then you have what it takes to love her fully. As I wrote in the article, physical features fade over time – that’s inevitable – so if you think that you can only find your partner beautiful if she possesses certain physical features, what happens when, in twenty years, those features look very different than they did at one time?

      I don’t buy the statement that men are wired differently. I often think of a story that my mother tells about meeting a man who was doing some work for her. He picked her up at the airport and was driving her back to his house, talking on an on about his gorgeous wife and how in love he is with her. They were both in their fifties and had been married for many years. After hearing all about her beauty, my mother was expecting to see someone typically beautiful, but when the wife opened the door she met a lovely, kind, chubby woman with a homely face. The man saw his wife as gorgeous as that’s what he literally saw when he looked at her – much like the message in Shallow Hal.

      • Brian

        Again, this is just my opinion. I think authentic physical attraction is the foundation that all of the stuff you describe is built on (for men). Without it, there can certainly be love, I know, I have it. But for me, there has never been a deep passion where I desire her physically. For lack of better terms, I desire her when I am “h***y”.

        Isn’t it true that women want to be persued physically by their man? Isn’t that the basis of the most common female fantasy of being overpowered by a stranger and taken sexually? That they are physically desirable?

        To Stephanie above, please do both him and yourself a favor and at the very least have an honest conversation about how you feel to see if there may not be something else going on.

        At this point, I feel trapped. I am not a cheater, I don’t believe in divorce, so the status quo is maintained.

        • “Isn’t it true that women want to be persued physically by their man? Isn’t that the basis of the most common female fantasy of being overpowered by a stranger and taken sexually? That they are physically desirable?”

          Nope, not true at all. A woman certainly wants to feel desired by her partner but in a healthy love relationship there usually isn’t a fantasy or a desire to be overpowered by a stranger and taken sexually. This sounds like rape, and I don’t know any women who have rape fantasies.

          • Brian

            Well, I am only citing what I have read. Point being that a woman wants to feel that she is so attractive, to the point that she is irresistible. I am not a woman, so I will concede your point.

            I think we will have to just agree to disagree on this.

  • Miranda

    I complete agree with everything Beth said… Its almost like our situations are exactly the same. Good to know i’m not the only one going through it… Now I just have to figure out how to. Thanks for posting.

  • Morgana

    Dear Sheryl,

    Your post has saved me completely. I’ve just got engaged to by boyfriend whom is an absolute gem. He spoils me, treats me with respect, loves me for who I am, cares for me, loves everything about me and has accepted me for who I am. I absolutely love this guy. However 3 months in our relationship I started feeling anxious, why? I could not understand why I was feeling this sort of guilt. It actually started when we were having dinner and he has a habit of frowning sometimes when he talks and all of a sudden a thought came into my head and it said ‘he looks ugly when he does that’. Instantly a wave hit me and I felt so guilty thinking it and I thought ‘oh my god does this mean I’m not attracted to him anymore?’ and my thoughts went wild! I started picking little things about him that never ever used to bother me at all, for example his hair loss, his bunion feet, and his thin calf muscles on his legs and I feel like my brain is going to explode with these ridiculous thoughts! It took me about a month to get over these thoughts and for me to pull myself together. I did bring it up with my mother, and I cried so much to her because of this unusual feeling and emotion which I just wanted to get rid of, and it made me feel so alone because I thought I was the only one going through it.

    Reading your article has made me understand things a lot more and what society has an affect in terms of this ‘perfect image’ which is apparently so important. Your advice in ‘Carry a photo of him that shows him at his very best’ has definitely helped me in my moments. But I still have my moments of anxiety and I try so hard to push them or ‘flick’ them out of my head and focus on something else. I have found myself comparing him to others which I know is a horrible thing to do! I have always said to go for a person which has amazing personality and that cares and loves you only… and I have him. He said to me ‘you are now my number one priority’ putting me before his family. He is not bad looking at all, he is actually quite handsome. I have spoken to him about my emotions (god bless him for listening) and told him how he can help, when I started these anxieties he actually got a bit more emotional and started worrying a lot and I felt I needed space and pushed him away a bit, which made him worry more. But he understands now and is helping. He is my first proper boyfriend and I am his first proper girlfriend which we are now engaged. He is very romantic and emotionally attached (which sometimes scares me… not sure why it scares me though). He says so many nice things to me which every girl wants to hear yet I just sit there and smile at him and not compliment him back. He doesn’t take it to heart because he knows me very well and knows I care for him dearly. But for me its hard to say nice things to him but very easy to say bad things to him or shout at him for being clumsy or annoying when he is only joking.

    I don’t know what causes these problems to trigger because I was never the type of girl to focus on a guys looks or even criticise someone for what they look like, yet here I am doing that exactly!

    I got over these emotions and I started missing him a lot, we had a few minor arguments and it made us a lot closer and I had never felt so much love for anyone. Then we had another argument which he cried because he thought he was a bad person and this took me back a little. I did comfort him and said its ok to cry because it shows he cares and I cried with him too as it upset me to see him cry. But since then these thoughts have crawled back in my head, its been about one week.

    I keep referring back to your post Sheryl as it helps me understand these ‘projections’ and what I should do to get out of it. You have definitely helped me understand myself more and has brought comfort to me that I am not the only one going through this. Thank you for reading my extremely long post! This is the first time I am admitting and letting it all out. Thank you again!

    • Hi Morgana: I’m so glad this post has helped you understand your thoughts and feelings. I encourage you to read through the rest of my site as many of the articles will help you understand the root causes of the anxiety, and it’s when you can pull the anxiety out by the root that the spirals stop occurring – or at least occur with less frequency and intensity.

  • Morgana

    Hi Sheryl, thank you for your reply and advice. I actually found myself downloading your first free lesson which nearly made me cry as it made so much sense and I could relate to it a lot. I just needed to know that I’m not in the wrong. Since my first lesson which was yesterday I have actually found myself to accept this anxiety and try and let it pass through me. I know I need to work on it more, but this is only the beginning and I hope I master these emotions. I will definitely consider buying the rest of your e course. It feels good to finally talk about my feelings to someone who understands. Thank you Sheryl.

    I did have one question regarding my emotions, I mentioned before my fiance is emotionally attached to me and I find it scary sometimes, surely this emotional attachment he has is not a bad thing?

  • Morgana

    Hi Sheryl

    Thank you for the links, I will definitely be looking through them.

    I had a interesting conversation with my finance yestetday to why I could be having these emotions and he asked me a question to how I felt towards love in general, and it seems that I am quite cynical about true love. I remember when my best friend was going through a tough time in her relationship and I kept on saying just forget about him there are so many more men out there, and she would always says to me that its easier to say than done because she loves him so much. I would always be cynical and realistic in a way towards these words because I thought it was never true. I have a tough exterior but yet so soft inside, maybe the ice is finally melting and I find myself not letting the ice melt because of being hurt?

    • The fear of being hurt as at the very center of most relationship anxiety. When you peel away the layers, you arrive at the soft, vulnerable place of the heart that is terrified of the risk of intimacy because it means the risk of loss.

  • Rachel

    Thank you so much for this, I really thought I was the only one! My boyfriend is quite amazing and while the sex (just physically) is good, I’m not physically attracted to him and I could not fathom why since I am so very attracted to his mind and soul. I actually find myself, at times, resenting him for being so short and skinny and effeminate. I mainly wanted to know what to do about it but most people (including columnists I usually trust like Dan Savage) replied along the lines of “needing physical attraction is natural. necessary, and nothing to feel shallow about, so the only solution fair to both of you is breaking up and finding someone you think is ‘hot’”.

    I now see that it is not a black-and-white situation as described above and there IS a solution that will allow me to be partners with an absolutely amazing and adoring man (and allow me to be “partners” with an amazing and adoring me). The best part is, it is a solution that is entirely within my power to affect, because only I can change my perceptions of reality.

    Thanks again.

    • You’re far from alone, as you can see from the comments! “The best part is, it is a solution that is entirely within my power to affect, because only I can change my perceptions of reality.” That’s EXACTLY right. Isn’t that empowering! : )

  • Jo

    I am feeling terribly alone. My partner and I have been together for five years. Next week we are going on an expensive holiday, which was supposed to be a chance to rest and relax together. Instead, we have decided that he will be moving out of our flat when we return. My heart is breaking inside my chest, and the whole thing seems so incredibly stupid and wasteful.

    My partner and I love each other dearly. We are great companions and best friends. We get on, like the same things, have similar aspirations for our lives and are affectionate and supportive of each other. But very early into our relationship, I found the physical spark was dying. We had both left other people for each other (I went through a pretty traumatic break-up to be with him) and I soon started to question whether I’d made the right decision. My partner revealed himself to be a human being, instead of the prince charming I’d imagined in my head (surprise surprise). I wasn’t quite prepared for the reality, and this caused me to have doubts, and to feel increased guilt over the relationship I’d left behind.

    And yet, five years later, we are still together. He still makes me laugh. He is still my best friend and the person I want to spend my time with. But the physical relationship ground to an almost total standstill a long time ago. We have tried and tried to pretend that everything is fine, but we both know that it isn’t, and it hurts him so much that he is so passionately, and physically attracted to me, and that I can’t reciprocate those feelings. It’s not fair for him to feel that he’s with someone who is “settling” for him, but doesn’t really want physical intimacy.

    And yet, now that he has come to the decision that he must move out, I feel nothing but panic and misery. I thought I’d feel some relief, like I was being set free, but all I can think about is how much I love him, value him as a person, and want him to be in my life. Yet I can’t beg him to stay, because it’s not fair to trap him in a relationship that makes him feel second rate. He’s not second rate. He’s a catch. I just can’t switch back on the passion.

    These blog comments have given me hope, but at the same time the reaction of my friends and family to our impending split has been hard to take. Everyone says that this will be the start of a new and liberating chapter for me. They think that this relationship has been holding us both back from achieving our full potential. If everyone has the same view, then perhaps they are right. So why do I feel so awful about losing this person? I love him so much.

    • I’m so sorry for your heartbreak, and yet this is such a common situation. If you were to address the deeper issues that are preventing you from opening yourself to him physically, the relationship would thrive. “So why do I feel so awful about losing this person?” I think you’ve answered your own question: “I love him so much.” Clearly, you love him. So the question is, “Why did I shut down to him sexually and physically?” And the answer has nothing to do with him.

  • Lisa

    I love my husband very much and reading this has turned on a lightbulb. My problem is that I want to have the desire and Passion that I had for my husband when we were younger. We have been together since we were sixteen now we’re thirty. We have four children, he works and I go to school. If he wants sex I will do it and eventually end up enjoying it. But I rarely initiate it. I have realized that it is not the physical at all but the spiritual connection that is diminishing. It’s like he was this person with joy and ambition but now that person is disappearing and my attraction with him.

  • HB

    Hello everyone, thank you so much for these postings…it’s amazing to actually read other’s writings about an experience that has felt so shameful and personal for me in my life.

    I, too, am happier to be reading here than on most sites, where the advice seems cut and dry about needing to break things off if one is having this kind of experience. But, I love my husband and any way I can keep that from happening would be preferred. I am kind of on my last leg, in the sense that my husband and I (married less than a year) made the recent decision to separate (though we still need to live in the same house) because we’re not really making any progress with this issue…

    Ideally, I would completely finish working through the various challenges I have with intimacy, feel attracted to him, and we would move forward with a fully realized marriage that is not only a best friendship but also a passionate, organic, and thriving sexual one.

    But…reality is that we haven’t been able to get over the hump. I’m wondering if there is anyone who can write in with any success stories of actually successfully (at least somewhat permanently) working through these issues? Has anyone really gone beyond the point of doubt to move into a passionate attraction to their partner, so that the relationship became it’s full embodiment of love in all ways and the doubt/suffering goes away?

    I haven’t yet participated in the E-course, but will explore the option when finances permit.

    Thanks in advance for any replies…

  • RCS

    Hello,

    Thank you so much for this post, it relates very closely to the way I feel. I have been married just over a year now but here is my story. I met my husband just over a year ago and he was about to leave the country. We chatted everyday for a month and he asked me to be his girlfriend. After a month he told me he was leaving but I thought I had found someone really different and special and that I would never meet anyone like him so I suggested we get married. After a month I do not know if I can say we were in love but we shared a deep connection when it came to communicating. I only physically met him a week before our wedding date and when I first saw him I cannot deny that I was not physically attracted to him. I thought he was not my type but then I chose to ignore it. We got married and had a great few weeks of marriage. Our first year has been so rocky. He was struggling to get a job and we were living off my salary which I didnt mind. Firstly we had issues over him thinking I did not put him first and that I trivialised his feelings. Halfway through the first day he even woke up and said he wanted a divorce. I begged him to stay then we continued and since then it has been a mix of good days and bad days. I struggle that each time I do something he does not like he critisizes me a lot and I can never to anything for him quite to the standard he requires. Because of this I developed a sense of not being good enough for him. I initially tried to change to be better but after getting tired of fighting I think I have just given up. And with this I have lost any desire to be close to him. I am not attracted to him anymore and I dont even desire a hug or kiss from him. Whenever I look at his picture I see the man who I cannot satisfy. I fear divorcing him because other than the perfectionism and all knowing attitude, he is exciting, passionate, adventurous and we share common dreams, I feel like maybe I made a mistake and should have not married him, would we still be together if we were not married and do I really love him and why can I not overlook the lack of attraction to his body. I dont know if there is anything to hold on to. I know we married strangely but I dont know if we should end it or continue on?

    Thanx

  • Kat

    Hi Sheryl,

    I’m not sure if you are or have experience conversing with same sex couples in these situations, however not much different it just happens to be two females as oppose to my husband, I am going to be referring to my partner. (ex partner)

    I’ve been with her almost two years now, however we are currently on a break as I’ve recently told her in the past few months that I’m not sure if I am “in love” and although for the first time I feel I am 100% myself while being with someone, my family for the first time admires my partner, and financially together we are a power couple. She really is one of the most positive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, although a bit possessive in the relationship, taking control is part of who she is, I can’t fault her for that.

    However, in the past couple months since we’ve taken our ‘break’ (and she has gone out of province to take her space – while working from a different office) I’ve come to meet another woman (although she has two kids) I feel a ‘passion’ that I’ve never felt before. It’s really overwhelming, in all senses. Just receiving a text from her saying something small like “I miss your lips” or “I need you here” makes me yearn to really develop a relationship with this woman. Although there are many, many red flags, for example she has many ‘bad’ things about her former relationships and they are still involved in her life (I hear about it all the time), also something inside me doesn’t trust her 100%, and to be honest, I pay for her and her kids everywhere we go and everything we do, and she talks about us getting a house and her staying home cooking dinner,etc.

    The first woman in my mind is perfect for me, but in my heart and body, (at least I think it’s my heart?) sexually my body and doesn’t yearn for her, in fact some cases I feel turned off thinking of her on that level — yet I love everything else about her.

    The second woman, (whom I’ve only known a brief 2 months) my mind tells me it’s not right and she’s not right, but my heart and goosebumps tell me she’s perfect if I so much as just think about holding her hand.

    In conclusion, I’ve agreed to talk to the first woman (whom I’ve just spent the last two years living together – I’ve recently moved out) and I know she cares and loves me deeply, and a large part of me envisions growing old together (If I could just feel the urge to yearn for her 100%)

    I guess I’m asking your advice, is it possible to develop a sexual or ‘passionate’ urge for someone if you have every other element in the relationship?

    Kindest,
    Kat

    • All of the same principles apply to same-sex relationships (the beauty of relationship anxiety is that it transcends all lines of gender, sexual orientation, geography, age, etc). It sounds to me like you’re infatuated with the second woman but that you truly love the first one. Infatuation will fade and it’s not something solid on which you can base a relationship. And to answer your question: yes, attraction can certainly be cultivated. If you’re hoping to develop the “yearning” and “longing” that you’re experiencing now in the infatuation stage, you’re in a fantasy: that only lasts for a brief window and then the real work of relationship begins. If you have something solid with the first woman, I strongly encourage you to do the work that would allow you commit fully to that relationship and let this current one go.

  • Patricia

    Wow. What Kat just described is pretty much exactly what I am feeling in my current relationship. I have been in a relationship for one year with someone who adores me and takes very good care of me, and is seemingly perfect partner, very patient with me, etc… however I have no desire to be physical with him, not even kiss. There is someone else who I met 7 months ago and have become much closer with gradually over time; we work for the same company, in 2 different buildings, but we deal with each other on a daily basis; he is married and it is not a good relationship; his wife is very difficult to deal with and in unfair, she smothers him and , and I know he has not been happy for several years. He is a very good man, probably a better man than any other I have known, but I would be surprised if he ever left her and his family behind. He and I have with in the last month started to reveal our feelings for each other. There has been no physical exchange between us as we both have the moral values not to get involved that way, but I know that we both want to, and it slmoast seems like we are treating each other the way we would like to be able to treat our current partners. We have a chemistry that I do not see myself ever having again with my current boyfriend. I could go into greater detail… but it is what it is… I don’t know what will happen in the future but for now I am more concerned with the relationship I have with my current boyfriend as I am actually worried he will want to propose sometime in the next 12 months, and I do not feel head over heels for him anymore. He lacks self confidence, and he always seemed insecure and like he lacks confidence in our relationship, way before i ever developed a liking for someone else (which he is unaware of – but it has not gotten to the point yet where I feel that it is time to break the news). I have been trying to explain the issues to him that I have with our relationship but I really need him to change himself and I feel like that is not only unfair but also that it should not have to be that way, and it might not even help. Now that I know how I feel for someone else, I know this is making things worse between my boyfriend and me, but maybe this whole situation it is a sign that I need to reconsider furthering my relationship with my boyfriend. I would feel horrible dumping him, he has done nothing wrong, but I am afraid that too many things about him turn me off and maybe I am meant to stay single forever. What do I do?!!?

  • Sarah

    I came across this site when searching “why do I demand physical perfection from my husband?” I have been dealing with this issue for over a year now (we’ve been married for 2). I’ve struggled with body image issues for years now – I was never actually anorexic but I struggled with a really restrictive diet and being obsessed with wanting to have a perfect body. I remember finally hearing “Wow you’ve gotten so skinny” was like fuel to the fire… it was a goal of mine to hear those words from someone. It may sound crazy, but its what I needed at the time. Now that i’m married I am attracted to my husband, he’s a great looking guy… but in reading other’s posts I can relate with a lot of what’s written here. Lately, I’m obsessing over wanting him to be perfectly in shape. Every time he skips the gym or eats something remotely unhealthy I worry. He’s a skinner guy, but pretty fit overall.. I just keep seeing his stomach and wishing it was in perfect shape…I wish his arms were more muscular. I keep thinking… well then I’ll be really attracted to him and I wont feel so obsessive or anxious about all this.

    I had an ex that was heavier as a kid and lost weight later in life — as the relationship progressed all I could see were his flaws and when he chose bad foods to eat or skipped a work out …. I felt like I had to not eat or work out extra hard. It was like I felt like I had to somehow bear the burden or if I ate less and worked out more he would too, even though I didnt need to because I was already struggling with diet issues. I will always want to be thin because its what I feel is attractive for myself, but I worry that this obsession and demand for perfection within myself is causing problems in my relationships. I love, love, love my husband, and I keep asking him “when did you go to the gym last” “maybe you should eat more protein” etc etc – and he just reassures me he cares about himself and i dont need to worry… but I do. It’s like if I could just take control and do it myself i would, but im not him! It seems I have some major projection issues to work out…I feel so bad thinking these thoughts… It feels selfish and silly… but I cant seem to shake them.

  • MsMia

    Wow! I had no idea there were so many women with the same issue! I am 36 years old and my bf just ended our relationship of 1.4 years. My (ex) boyfriend was the best you can ask for . He was tall, dark, handsome, established career, funny, smart, ambitious, driven, and most importantly loved me for me. We had a lot of fun together, he talked seriously about marriage and his actions matched his words.
    We met online and when we first started dating I knew right away he was heavier than I would like (size 40 pants). But he told me he was working out and dieting so i decided to wait for the ‘results’. After about 8 months I started pulling away from intimacy. I felt that the 20 or so lbs. he had lost was still not enough. I’m used to guys with washboard abs who have a certain swag about themselves. That really turns me on. With him being a size 40(now 38) I guess it was unrealistic to expect a dramatic change. There is also the issue of his hair. When we met he was always freshly shaved,head and face. Then once he got comfortable he would go days w/o shaving and that started to bug me. I felt he wasn’t the handsome man I met a year prior. I feel like if he can’t get the weight under control at least maintain everything else.
    One thing I’ve noticed about myself is this, when I am extremely attracted to someone its like all I want from them is sex-no relationship. And when I’m in a relationship, the sexual chemistry wanes. There has only been one man in my life that gave me both-a somewhat relationship and magnificent sex and that was 10 yrs ago. But that didn’t work out for various reasons. Howwever, I find myself fantasizing about him and wondering what it could have been like if we stayed together.
    Am I subconciously afraid of intimacy and or commitment? In my childhood I was verbally and physically abused by my own mother. Could that be the root cause of my fear? I need help. My most recent ex was prob the best boyfriend I ever had.

    • It’s highly likely that your childhood abuse is affecting your ability to maintain intimacy, but the truth is that this is very challenging for most people. You’re describing the classic pursuer-distancer dynamic where you’re turned on by the chase and drama and repelled by someone who is emotionally available. It’s a challenging dynamic to shift but it’s entirely possible! I suggest that you read “We” by Robert Johnson and “Recipes for a Perfect Marriage” to understand this more fully.

  • JJD

    Hi Sheryl. I’ve been dating my girlfriend for the past 2 years now. I love her personality and she is also very pretty. The thing is though that she is not exactly “hot.” I was diagnosed with anxiety 2 years ago and I’ve worked through a lot of it but one nagging thought I’ve for a while was that I do find my partner attractive enough. I think she is very pretty and cute, but when I see a “real hot girl” I started to get nervous and scared. Usually, if it I see a hot girl I can reason that our personalities probably wouldn’t click and that’s why my girlfriend is a good match. It’s when I talk to hot girls that I do get along with is where the problem starts. My mind starts racing and telling me this girl is better match because she has all that your girlfriend has AND good looks. And deep down I can’t help but wish my partner was a little “hotter.” But it’s not enough to really end a relationship over. I fell like Brian above when he says he’s attracted to her essence. I kind of want to just get over this worry and move on with my relationship. But my question is, what can I tell myself when a girl possesses all of the qualities my girlfriend has and is more attractive?

  • JJD

    I just feel like my ego gets in the way of my perception of my girlfriend. Like it’s not satisfied when it is.

    • Yes, it’s likely your ego, or your fear-based self, that’s protecting you from the risk of loving and being fully vulnerable with your girlfriend. I encourage you to read through my site to learn more.

  • B.

    I am a male and have been married to my wife 8 years and together for 11. I’m now in my late 30′s and in a marriage with no passion. Something as simple as kissing is a big problem. Before my wife I loved to kiss, I could kiss and cuddle all day long. Yes some men like to cuddle. But now I have no desire to kiss or even touch my wife. Sex is a chore and I routinely fulfill my husband duties so as not to make her question my attraction to her. We have been to counseling 3 times and I even mentioned my lack of attraction early on in our marriage. When I saw how much pain it caused her I just sucked it up and held it in. I know that it may not be fair to myself but I have sacrificed my sexual and physical passion for someone who is a wonderful person, terrific mother, excellent wife, and someone who always has my back. I don’t want to say she was the practical choice but she may have been. I don’t want to get a divorce but I don’t know how much longer I can have sex with no passion.

    • It sounds like you have some confusion about the nature of love and attraction (as most people do!) and believe that it’s your wife’s responsibility to “turn you on.” The spark and seed of attraction lie inside of you, and if you’re not alive in your own body you won’t feel attracted to your wife. I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions:

      1. What are my expectations about marriage? Am I expecting my wife to fulfill me or complete me in any way?
      2. Am I emotionally connected – first to myself and then to my wife?
      3. When do I feel alive, passionate, turned on (not just sexually)?

      And stay tuned for a program I’ll soon be offering called “Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to cultivate love and attraction for you partner.”

  • B.

    Thanks for the info. I will try to use it

  • DIA

    I’ve been struggling with accepting my partners looks fully for a while now. Do you ever think there is a case where it is impossible to “fully” love someone? Looks and all? I am genuinely, physically attracted to her, love her personality, and I’m best friends with her. I just always get scared that my partner is not good looking enough to be with me. I always get thoughts that I can do better in the looks department. She may not be a 10/10 but she is cute and attractive. I also get nervous about the future, whether I will be attracted to her 10 years from now. I’m worrying about it now so much, so what does that mean for the future? I am all for staying with her 100%, but I just want to be comfortable with her looks.

    • Yes it’s entirely possible to love her fully, looks and all, even when you have her under the microscope. Stay tuned for my new, 30 day program that will teach you how to do just that : ).

  • DIA

    I’m constantly looking at her physical flaws, even though personally I don’t think they are THAT bad. I’ve had anxiety/ocd where I would go out my way to check things. For example, I check my partner’s stomach to see if it has grown since the last time I saw her. Another example, she has some thin, wispy “facial hair”, but it’s hardly noticeable unless you put a magnifying glass up to it or are going out of your way to look for it. Even though I don’t think it looks that bad, my mind tells me it’s horrible and repulsive and that I should leave her because I will never get over it and forever notice it and be repulsed, which I think is a bit an exaggeration in all honesty. What can I do to not focus on these little things I perceive as “faults?” It’s hard loving her fully when I notice all these little imperfections, but they just stand out to me and I get caught up in analyzing them and comparing it other people. I guess you could say I obsess over them. Then I start worrying about them because I know these imperfections won’t get any better in the future. I don’t want to leave her soley over a few minor imperfections!

  • Jamie

    Unfortunately i think it is hard to have your cake and eat it too. Some people get lucky, but by the number of submissions on this site id say that is a rare thing. As a young, attractive, woman I want to be able to have great sex with my husband while getting all the other important factors too (and why shouldn’t I). Reading the responses in this blog i have noticed that most people skim over the sex bit, maybe because it is too painful for some or because its inappropriate. Whatever the reasons may be, and if you will allow me, I’m going to share with you the ways that I have dealt with this (the best i can) in order to stay in my relationship. Firstly I find that role playing helps. And costumes are greatly recommended as well. Think of it this way, we all love our husbands, we want to be with them, it is just hard to get past the unattractive light we see them in…Well ok, let’s play dress up then! Confession: I don’t find my man very attractive and i have to work at it daily, but that said when he puts on a cowboy hat i suddenly see a whole new side of him. Dont dig the cowboy look? Well here comes another confession: We like to play doctor, and this sinario doesn’t require a costume(just a stethoscope) somehow when we get out of our normal roles (or at least the one i have in my head) where he is the timid, skinny, sort of awkward but of course completely loveable man, it’s a whole different ball game. Now he is in charge, he is the doctor, or the masseuse, or the kidnapper or whatever you like. Once you give him that power over you your thoughts of his inadequate looks become lower on your list. You start focusing on different things (mainly yourself) because now you are in a role. He is not the husband you know when role playing, he is now a stranger, but one who still resembles everything you love about your man. This not only benefits you but him as well; everyone at some point and time have pretended or fantasized about being someone else. Ive watched my husband go from sweet, timid, always Mr. Nice to the most un-professional and potty mouthed doctor i have ever met. If this is too wild for you or if you want to start smaller then another option i would suggest is meeting your husband somewhere public, like a classy bar, and pretending its your first date again. Ask each other date like questions and so on. After a few drinks and some flirting you will start to remember why you were drawn to him in the first place.
    I realize that this blog is to help us look into ourselves and find the deeper meanings behind our anxiety and i treasure that,i just figured that while we are working on all that it wouldn’t hurt to try to tackle the problem with some head on physical work. Strike the problem where it hurts most. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Drink that wine, feed each other those chocolate strawberries, and wear those silk panties! Do it because your husband is worth it, but more so, do it because YOU are worth it. There are a lot of women explaining their feelings of guilt and anxiety over their relationship issues, but none of you should be blaming yourselves for these feelings. I think it is this attacking of our own selves that causes spiraling. I mean its bad enough our relationships are taking a toll without the self bashing to top it off!
    Remember: You owe it to yourself to be happy.

    I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my post. I only wish to share what I know has been helping me in hopes that at least one person out there can use it

    • I love this comment! I’m devoted to helping people understand the root causes of lack of attraction, but having tangible tools is an essential part of the work as well. Thank you for having the courage to post.

  • Alice

    I understand attraction to essence versus physical attraction, but what is the difference between that essence of a good person in my husband and the same essence I see in my other loved ones; parents, uncles, siblings? Isn’t it necessary to have something additional to essence to maintain a healthy and sexual relationship? If u see your husband as a great friend and admirable man but aren’t attracted to him otherwise, will your marriage fail? Especially if you see sex as a To Do on you list.

    • A very common question and, yes, it is necessary to have something additional to essence to maintain a healthy relationship. And most people have this additional “something” even if they don’t realize it. It’s the moments or experiences of intimacy that you don’t have with anyone else: shared laughter, holding hands, legs crossed over each other while you’re watching a movie, the way you talk in the morning or at the end of the day. When we only value “attraction” in the mainstream sense we miss the many other ways that we’re drawn to each other.

  • Kim

    Thank you more then words can express for this article. I have been dealing with anxiety and panic attacks since my early 20′s, and my break-up after a very serious relationship in college sent me into a downward spiral. I feared relationships after this breakup more then death in many ways. And here I am almost 5 years after the break up and still healing but doing great. Thank God for an amazing therapist and supportive network of friends and family. Somehow out of the blue an amazing guy came into my life 1 year ago this February. I’ve never had such a strong emotional connection with any guy before, and I trust him will all my heart and soul – the problem? – I feel the physical attraction is not as strong as it COULD be. I constantly compare my attraction to him with how my friends feel about their significant other and assume everyone HAS to be more attracted to their partner then I am. Just as you mentioned above, there are physical traits about him I love – his dark brown eyes, his broad shoulders, his strong hands – it’s just that I have felt an instant physical attraction before to guys so I know it is possible for me to have it. Never had that with this guy though. Loved his personality from the start and that is what drew me to him, not his appearance. I love that I am very introspective and self-aware, but sometimes it makes me feel like I’m driving myself crazy. I wish I could stop obsessing and just be at peace with my life. I pray someday things will fall into place. PS I have always been a hopeless romantic, love romantic movies, songs, etc. I’m not surprised in many ways that I put so much emphasis on the importance of physical attraction.

    • Welcome to my site! Stay tuned for my new program: “Open your Heart: A 30 day program to cultivate love and attraction for your partner.” Sounds like you would benefit enormously from it!

  • Kim

    Thank you! I definitely will! Is there a way I can be notified when this program is available?

    • I’ll be announcing it on my site so if you’re on my list you’ll receive the ezine email. And I can also add you to the interested people list!

  • Kim

    I’m not on your list so if you could add me that would be great. And you can add me to the interested people list as well thanks!

    • Will do. And if you’d like to be added to my email list all you need to do is sign up for one of my free e-books or reports on the home page of my site.

  • Kim

    As I mentioned above this article as well as this entire site has been a godsend for me as I struggle through my relationship anxiety. As much as I educate myself and try to dig deeper as to why I feel the way I do, I still dwell on certain aspects of my relationship that I can’t seem to look past – when I met my boyfriend who I’ll refer to as ‘J’, there were no sparks. As a matter of fact, I convinced myself that this was no way to start a healthy relationship as there has to be some level of excitement and pining in the beginning of a relationship. I kept a picture of J by my bed and when I woke up I would look over and think, this is going nowhere because there just HAS to be more of a physical attraction. I would then start the day feeling down in the dumps and preparing my ‘I don’t think this is going anywhere’ speech on a regular basis. I was so convinced that this would go nowhere that I continued talking to other guys in hopes that I would find ‘the one’. I made myself sick obsessing about things and kept thinking, I have to end this because this is NOT how a relationship should be. There just HAS to be more of a physical attraction. As I started spending more time with J I found that I greatly enjoyed his company and that we were indeed like two peas in a pod. I found that there were no real deal breakers and that I could make a very long list of things I admired about J. As I introduced him to my friends and family I found that everyone loved and adored him. When I met his family I completely accepted and loved, they are some of the most caring people I have ever met. Despite all the positives in our relationship, I can’t help but think something is missing. I keep telling myself, maybe you should just move on and this is your gut telling you he is not the one. And the only thing I can think is missing is more of an attraction since this bothered me from day one. I know that J would make a wonderful husband, father, and life partner. I’m at the point in my life where is like to settle down. I wish I would stop comparing our relationship to everyone else’s relationships. I keep having these nagging thoughts of, if you stay with J you will ALWAYS regret that you did not keep looking for someone who you just clicked with in the looks department. Does anyone have any wisdoms to share? Thank you!

  • Kim

    Thank you : ) And I think I answered some of my own questions through exploring your website and reading everything, it has been extremely helpful.

  • Nina

    This article and the article “Am I Just Convincing Myself That I Love Him?” have helped me so much. I’ve been with an amazing guy for 3 years, and at the beginning there was tons of sexual chemistry, but it died down over time, especially since I’ve been dealing with primary vaginismus and am finally having some gains in that area. I find myself micro-analyzing every aspect of his appearance and questioning whether or not I like it, which I know is so stupid. I also find myself fixating on the very beginning of our relationship when I wasn’t sure if I liked him (but once we got together we had amazing chemistry, like fireworks and all that). These articles have helped confirm for me that that sexual chemistry isn’t gone forever and that if I just relax and recognize what an amazing essence my partner is, it will all be fine. Like some other users I’ve seen comment on here, I’ve had a tendency to google all my issues, and often times the internet is not such a great place to look for good advice on these topics, but I save articles from this site on my phone and look at them whenever I feel anxious, and they’ve helped a ton, so thanks. :)

  • Lynn

    This article has given me hope where I felt very little. Thank you for that, and thank you to everyone who has been strong enough to admit that every relationship isn’t “perfect” and that it isn’t fair to expect any partner to fit your exact expectations of the perfect other. I am currently in the midst of terror over the status of my relationship. I am crippled with confusion much of the time, and find myself thinking that I love him but not having the physical reaction that goes along with that love. I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years now, including a few-month-long break. We fell deeply in love with each other the moment we met, my first semester in college, and have been together through so much since then. College, studying abroad (in different places), living together and apart, graduating at different times, and even moving across the country from each other (this lead to the break) and finally reuniting in the same city. It has been one year since our reunion. Throughout all of this, he has been the most forward thought and image in my mind every day. I adore him and his family, and vice versa. We share many of the same interests, passions, and even friends. More than that, I feel safe and loved with him. He treats me incredibly well, and has endless patience for my feelings. I am sometimes amazed at how he forgives me without batting an eyelash. We have not always been so wonderful to each other, and have some skeletons to deal with, but of course, we are human. He is perfect for me, and I can’t imagine someone that is more understanding or willing to work with me on every point. I sit at work fantasizing about our life together, and how I just want to please him and be close to him, but when we get in the same room, I feel uncomfortable and confused. I don’t want him to touch me, and I don’t want to touch him – I even find myself turning my head when he goes in for a kiss. I end up feeling unbelievably frustrated and angry, which puts me even further out of the mood. When we are apart, all I want is to be intimate with him, but when we are together I freeze up and feel, well, awkward (and I am NOT an awkward person). I am quite affectionate with all of my friends, but feel very little affection for him when we are in the same room. I never feel “in the mood” anymore. At the beginning of our relationship, we couldn’t get enough of each other. I still want to do all of the little things for him, send him songs and letters, make him dinner, but the magnetism is no longer there. I feel sever vertigo when I think of my life without him, and I so terribly want to make it work. He is still so interested in me, and when I look deeply into his eyes or think about him from a far, I know in my heart that he is the one. But what do I do about our physical relationship? Does my “lack of attraction” necessarily mean that I have fallen out of love?

  • Ayana

    Whew. I’ve read this 4 times and I feel like I’d need to read it 3x a day for the next year to really get it ‘in deep’ so that it can begin to change the deep rooted -whatever- I have inside. I have had TWO failed marriages, in both cases, the relationships were physical prior to marriage despite the fact that my authentic self has wanted desperately to do it ‘a different way’and to wait until after marriage (not an easy man to find here!). Neither husband was the ‘man of God’ and the ‘leader’ I or my children need. The first husband is their father, the second I waited until 8 years after my divorce before I married and he wasn’t even close to sharing my spiritual values. We had shared interests, but not common core values. The relationship was an absolute train wreck. As I mentioned, there was physical intimacy prior to marriage and it’s clear to me now how that contributed to the ‘concessions’ I made for each of them and the fact that I felt ‘in love’ and was unable to see things that I would’ve seen had we not engaged in a sexual (soul-tieing) relationship. Now, there is a man who is everything I could want in a partner and I believe he is God’s gift to me. He is very clear about his values (which match mine) and waiting for me until he can bring me to the altar without blemish. He is a -wonderful- man and my teen sons love him. He’s also short and fat and his body is shaped in a way that I often find revolting. Plumbers crack and all. I’m at a definite impasse. **He can sense my distaste** and is asking, “Has something changed?” The surprise shopping sprees, work he does to build a future for us, romantic outings, flowers, heartfelt sweet words, laughter we share, inumerable things he does for the kids, surprise trips he’s taken us on, outpouring of love, generosity, and fun, is all being sucked into this hole called, “Ewww,I’m disgusted by his body.” One thing I have always found very attractive on a man is his backside. Husband #2 had what I referred to as ‘muffins’. The man I care for and love as my friend and who is so good to me and my children – has no backside AT ALL. Completely flat. Like a wall. Gross. He does have beautiful teeth and eyes which I will try to focus on now. He is also 3? inches shorter than I am which has always been a deal breaker for me. However, after being treated so horribly, I would be a fool to let this man go. How I wrestle with my feelings… This is going to take a major rework of my mind. I work very hard at remaining attractive although I hate it. I work out, I consistently eat well, and part of my life is dealing with a very wide audience of highly educated professionals traveling and giving presentations. Often I am required to be in Washington DC and have business functions that he would be included in if we were married. He’s a very nice dresser but I feel like I’d have to be drunk to tolerate seeing him naked. Some part of my mind seriously thinks I might throw up. I place a high value on health and fitness. We remind me of Charlotte (Sex in the City character and her husband except that my man is much shorter). God help me… Ayana

  • s

    Hi there, I wonder if anyone can help me I would be really grateful.
    I have a bad case of relationship anxiety. Sometimes I worry that I am not sexually attracted to my fiance. Sometimes I dont feel like kissing him and it takes me a while to get in the mood. I dont know why this happens to me. Sometimes foreplay can even seem a little boring to me. I love this man but i had my doubts for a long time. My biggest worry is that when I met him, we were friends and stayed close friends. Then we began dating.. I am worried he is just a friend to me. Is this possible? I didnt have butterflies like I did with other guys (could this be because he chased me too much? He never ‘played the game’.)
    I worry that without the butterflies and sometimes the bore is enough to tell me he is not for me, even though the thought of leaving him tears me apart. Please help

  • If you’re struggling with the issue of attraction, I encourage you to consider my new program, “Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner”, which will begin on May 29th. It opened for registration today and it’s almost full, so read more, learn more, and sign up here:

    http://conscious-transitions.com/open-your-heart-a-30-day-program-to-feel-more-love-and-attraction-for-your-partner/

  • aishurai88

    Hi everyone,

    Reading this is making me feel better, but no one has the exact situation i have. I’m indian, and from a modern family in the USA. I met this guy 6 months ago and was not physically attracted to him. I found him ugly and too skinny and only 5’10″ (I wanted big shouldered and 6’1″ like my dad). We met and ended up having an amazing time chatting at dinner. We stayed friends and just kept getting along amazingly. Everything you read online, about traits a boyfriend/fiance/husband/father-of-your-children should have… he has all of them. He’s an amazing guy, he’s the same religion, a few years older, speaks the same language, likes the same cuisines, fun loving like me, adventurous, polite, romantic… blah blah. perfect.

    Here is where the problem lies. He’s ugly. 6 months of the perfect man, compatible in every way, emotionally, physically, culturally. But I just can’t find him attractive when I look at his face. And neither do my friends or family. My parents don’t want me talking to him, and think I can do better. That I can find the same connection with a better looking, richer, more pedigreed guy. They can’t seem to understand what i see in him. My friends think he’s ugly, but have met him many times and agree he’s wonderful. But it constantly bothers me, its okay if he’s not the hottest and I was attracted… but I’m not at all. This anxiety is killing me. He’s sure, and he proposed with a gorgeous custom ring. But I’m at a loss at what to do. I like everything about the inside of him, and he’s from an avg family and has a great job, so that’s enough for me. I don’t need to marry a king. But his looks… I can kiss him because I’m emotionally attracted to him. I just can’t help thinking he’s ugly every single time I look at him.

    Any advice ladies?
    Thank you in advance.
    aishurai88

  • aishurai88

    ^Kim^

    You said it so well :)
    Its a wore torn feeling of finding someone wonderful but with a slight empty kind of happiness vs the chance of there being more out there in the future.
    I look forward to people responding to your situation, as its very relevant to mine.
    In the end, I’m sure you and I both just want to be happy, and be fair to the guys we are dating. I wish you luck :)

    As for my situation, I totally feel the way you feel, Kim, about the guy. About how wonderful he is, and how happy you feel around him. And I know I listed stupid things like 5’10″, but in reality if I found him hott, then everything else wouldn’t matter. But since I don’t, I nit-pick on things like height, nose-shape, and other nonsense.

    -aishurai88

  • Eloise

    I’m currently engaged but I admit I have been thinking of breaking up with him. He’s become so overweight I am not attracted at all to him and don’t want to have sex with him or even be affectionate with him. It kind of makes me angry to look at him because I just think ‘lazy’. It doesn’t help that there’s another guy who I’m so attracted to and can feel the chemistry between us. I don’t want to cheat, I don’t want to end things…I just feel hopeless. I want passion, to feel love completely but I can’t because the physical aspect is just not there. Not sure what to do…

    • Is he willing to work on his eating issue? It’s understandable that you’ve lost attraction, not only because of the weight but also because it sounds like he’s exhibiting addictive behavior and thus is operating from a wounded state.

      • Eloise

        Well he has always wanted to lose weight, yet the exact opposite has been happening over the years. It’s only until I confessed about what was about to happen between me and this other guy one night that he told me he’s going to get serious about losing weight. He’s making the effort now, but he does eat junk food still sometimes, but perhaps that’s ok? It’s just going to take well over a year, maybe two to get back to the weight he used to be at – that is, if he sticks to his plan and it does make him lose weight. I sort of feel his genes are partially to blame also. I guess just in the mean time it’s hard for me, and I feel the resentment has already set in long ago…I think perhaps I just need to be patient. The difficult thing is to try and not make him feel bad about his weight also because I know he hates himself for it, which yes, sort of seems like a vicious cycle.

        • Then the question for you is if you love his essence enough to hang on for the ride and learn to support him as much as possible. Shallow Hal would be a good film for you to watch.

        • Nat

          Eloise and Sheryl,
          I feel the same way. My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years (lived together for 3) and he has gained probably 100 lbs since our first date. I have no doubt he has gotten lazy about exercise, eating, hygiene, etc… or maybe it is that I didn’t realize just how lazy he way from the beginning. I feel no physical attraction to him anymore. I love him, trust him, he is my best friend… but what is a relationship without sexual attraction? How do you tell someone you aren’t physically attracted to them or that they need to lose weight and take better care of themselves.
          Im noticing that I’m getting irritated with his work habits as well. He finds even easy tasks to be complicated and overwhelming, such as driving to and from work, going to the gym, cleaning.
          At the same time, I love him more than I have loved anyone and feel like he is the one. He has so much love to offer, he will be a great dad, he is so emotionally supportive and loving… Yet, his bad habits and lack of self discipline when it comes to health, work, and money make me so angry.
          He has proposed twice and I have said ‘not yet’ both times. I’m tired of leading him on while I wait for a change to occur… Is it worth waiting for?

          I have three options:
          1) suck it up and stop being a narcissistic brat because, honestly, guys like him are a rare breed
          2) say something and hope he becomes more healthy and disciplined and it doesn’t make him resent me
          3) recognize this kind relationship as friends-only. After all, I would like to have sex with my future husband and I would like to enjoy it

          What do you think?

          • I would suggest that you say something. When someone is 100 lbs overweight and isn’t taking good care of himself in many regards it’s not just an issue of physical attraction but recognizing that he’s not loving himself at all. And when someone is in a self-abandoned state it’s not easy to feel attracted to them. You’re not being a brat; you need to speak your truth and encourage him to show up for himself in loving ways. It would be a gift to both of you.

  • Toni

    My boyfriend is very attractive. It’s clear to see, we always had a lot of physical attraction for the first fee years of our relationship, but in the past 6/7 months this has disappeared from my side of the relationship. We live together and share everything, he’s my best friend but this is what concerns me the most… I’m worried that I show I see him now, more as a best friend than a lover, and this is my biggest fear, that eventually this would happen and mean we could no longer be together. I feel like we have both become so comfortable around each other that we or maybe I, forget what the relationship needs to thrive. I never want sex, although when we do have it, I always enjoy it, it just seems like a chore, which isn’t fair on him. I love him dearly And would love us to last the distance to marriage and kids, and the last thing I want is for us to break up, he is literally all I’ve ever wanted in a partber. But I’m seriously worried that we won’t be able to come back from this best friends thing, and I have no idea how to. I’m worried that in the long run it will push us further apart as a couple and I really don’t want that. I think about the relationship every minute of the day due to my OCD tendencies and it’s killing my feelings and emotions, not to mention bringing on quite a bit of depression. Can anyone offer any advice on this?

  • Bonnie

    Toni- I feel the exact same thing. Nothing at all is wrong in my relationship, except that I never feel that urge to have sex anymore with him. I think about how we used to have that spark that was so exciting and now we are best friends who live extremely well together and support each other. I feel bad even saying aloud or thinking about the fact that I don’t always feel attracted to him sexually . I wish I had advice to give to you….maybe someone can help us both.

  • Eli

    My anxiety/fear is along the same lines as some of these comments, but is a little different. This is long, so bear with me. I’m a guy who’s dated my girlfriend, Sarah (not her real name) on-and-off for 6 years now. Marriage has become a major discussion of late and I want to make sure we’re making the right decision.

    When we first met, I was crazy for Sarah. I couldn’t live without her. She was very shy, quiet and repressed sexually and emotionally. I loved that because I had also felt shy, quiet, and repressed for many years and sought someone like that. I pursued her hard and she always scooted back, never said she loved me, and wanted to do her own thing. I now realize a lot of my attraction to her was a co-dependency. I’ve since worked on myself and seen a therapist for years. Many of the co-dependent feelings have faded and I now feel much happier and more confident being alone. Problem is, I’m still with Sarah and my feelings have evolved. A couple of years ago, Sarah and I broke up for several months. It was a relief because the relationship had gotten claustrophobic and I had wanted to date other women for some time leading up to this. Well, I dated a couple of women, one I still speak with, Carrie (not her name) and the other I don’t, Allie (not her name).

    My relationship with Allie was fast and furious. I was immensely attracted to her, still am, and we had an incredible couple of months of passionate sex constantly, discovering each other, and wild intimacy. She slipped one day and said she had already started planning the wedding in her head. This made me very excited. Towards the end of our quick relationship I started finding all sorts of faults with her – her breath stank, her walk was weird, I didn’t like her parents, she wasn’t very hip. Our relationship never quite moved out of the honeymoon phase, but maybe this was indication it was starting to. Things ended for us when Sarah, who was living across the country (the excuse I used for the reason we broke up in the first place) moved back home and wanted to rekindle things. For the first time, she expressed how much I meant to her. She demanded we get back together and I caved. It was perfect timing because the honeymoon stage with Allie was ending. Allie and I talked a great deal and decided to end things on relatively good terms. Allie would text me fairly frequently after and we flirted over text as we had done when we were together, but I put a stop to all that saying it was probably bad for her in her new relationship and also for me in mine.

    Sarah and I have now been back together for 2 years. I love her and will do anything for her. I love her family. We have sex, but infrequently. I’m very attracted to her sometimes, but not as often as I’d like. Sometime I think she is quite unattractive. She battles depression and lacks passion. We connect, but not as much as I’d like and she has some deep emotional issues. But, the last several months she’s worked hard on her issues and is moving in the right direction. She’s much happier, more open, and now says she loves me all the time. I often feel bored by her, though, and sometimes feel she is just kind of lame as a person.

    I still think about Allie and Carrie, though. I have dreams about getting back together with Allie, about rekindling our passion for one another. I fanaticize about both of them fairly often. But, I am also very drawn to other women. It’s like my senses have been awakened. I feel more confident with my own feelings and this is great, but I’m becoming very confused. I don’t feel shy anymore; I don’t feel repressed. Now, I am frequently turned on by many, many women and I feel capable to start relationships with almost any of them. I’ve never felt this good about myself, but, darn, it’s causing so many other problems. What do I do?