DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I met this girl last summer as a tour guide while I was on vacation. My grandpa talked me into asking her out before we left town, so I gathered up the courage and ended up taking her out two nights in a row, only to sadly leave the next morning…8 hours away back home. We stayed in touch and texted/snap chatted daily, skyping or calling occasionally. I realized from the start something grand was in the midst here, the chemistry was flawless…or so I thought.
I made the massive mistake of not kissing her before I left to go back home. Luckily, she teased me about it in our many all-night-conversations. I managed to make it back for a couple days in September (we met in June). I traveled down with some work friends and stayed with them the first night, going to hang out with my girl then returning, after FINALLY kissing her of course. However, the second night she invited me to stay at her place. We were sitting around watching TV when things started to get hot and heavy. She climbs on top of me and straddles my lap while we make out. We go for a while, and I realize there’s no soldier standing at attention…if you catch my drift. She becomes rather frantic and scurries off to the bathroom.
Now I had recently gotten out of a 3 year relationship that January, she had just come out of a 2 year one in May. I had one other failed attempt with a girl I knew from high school back in May that I simply brushed off as being due to alcohol.
I explained to her that it had nothing to do with her, and that I was just nervous because it had been so long. So we left it at that and I returned back home the next morning. We continued to talk to every day and gradually made conversation about my dreadful embarrassment. I knew by now that I was without a doubt head over heels for this girl. So I knew this problem HAD TO GO.
I began to worry about it in my spare time, in work, and even in classes. “What do I do if it happens again”, ” how can I make sure I do everything right next time and leave her fully satisfied”.
I returned to visit in October, she allowed me to stay with her at her apartment. Things were grand, as they always are, except in the bedroom. Where I faced the same anxious thoughts, leading to the same outcome. I knew it had to be something on a grander scheme than just nerves. So I went searching.
Now the 3 year relationship I was in prior cannot be classified by any me as as “good”. It was an early infatuation brought on by high school shenanigans that made me think I had found the big “L”. Well I ended up fooling around on her, and never told her until I discovered my problem I’m coming with to you today.
I had a brief moment of relief, managed to go back in November and have halfway decent, but not really, sex with this woman I had fallen so deeply for. Still not what either of us wanted though, and she firmly believed I wasn’t attracted to her. Which could not be more wrong.
So we never really hit the “relationship” phase and both agreed that nothing was off limits and we would just classify ourselves as what we had become, which was best friends. Well knowing that I still had a “problem” I wanted to test the waters and see just how big of a problem this was. So I went for a visit to the ex. Not a problem in sight. Actually more clarity that I knew it wasn’t because of buried feelings for her, but nonetheless, the sex was still fun, no problems on my part.
I went back in December and managed to have slightly, but still not great, sex with her. “What is missing from this that makes it easy to just rip off her clothes any hour of the day” I kept thinking to myself. How can someone I find so deeply beautiful, sexy, and astounding be so hard to just pick up and lay down.
So we see each other in February, and the end of April with still little to no real drive in my bones, all the while my anxious thoughts telling me something was wrong with me, and the constant fear that I would mess something up. I arrive the first of May and stay with her for 3 weeks straight. We become close than I ever could have imagined, and the sex definitely got better. She told me later on though, that I left her feeling undesirable because of my lack of physical affection in public, during the day, or just anywhere in general and that it felt like a “white-bread” relationship. We had also decided to try the whole “relationship” badge on while I was there for the summer.
So I struggled and beat myself up over hearing this from the girl I so deeply care about. “How could I do this, I’m so stupid for making her feel this way, she doesn’t deserve this”. So I tried to be more affectionate, only to find my thoughts holding me back, wondering if I’d do something wrong or let her down again.
The love continued to grow though, she traveled with me back to my hometown and I helped move her home for the remainder of the summer. Her home being 3 hours from where her college and my internship were. We made trips to see each other on weekends and finally we dropped the big “L” bomb one weekend at her parents house. I knew it was real.
Well summer has come and gone and I’m now back at college, still talking to her everyday. I went back for a visit last week after being home for about 3 weeks, I notice those irrational fears creeping back in my head, “there’s not much time to spend now, better make it all count” “don’t let her down”. Sure enough, I let her and myself down, big time. I was never able to fully do ANYTHING the whole 3 days I was there. Leading her to become quite tired of trying to counsel me through this.
So I returned back feeling worse than ever, hating myself more than ever, and entering a very depressive state. She told me before I left that she wanted to go back to how things were before summer, meaning that we kinda take the title off and give each other the freedom to do whatever…this hurt me…a lot. I honestly don’t believe she’ll do anything, but it gives her a sort of control to make her feel better and I’ll take anything at this point to not lose her.
I’m going tomorrow to talk to my school counselor, just to try and figure something out. She’s losing patience, and I’m losing my grip.
Good Ol’ Fashioned Lover Boy
DEAR GOOD OL’ FASHIONED LOVER BOY: You know, GOFLB, normally I would have edited the ever-loving hell out of your letter for space. But I left it as it was for a very specific reason. Can you guess why that is?
Here’s a hint:
“gradually made conversation about my dreadful embarrassment”
“So I knew this problem HAD TO GO”
“‘What do I do if it happens again’”
”’how can I make sure I do everything right next time and leave her fully satisfied’”
“Where I faced the same anxious thoughts, leading to the same outcome”
“So I went for a visit to the ex. Not a problem in sight.”
“I notice those irrational fears creeping back in my head,”
“‘there’s not much time to spend now, better make it all count’”
“‘don’t let her down’”.
“Sure enough, I let her and myself down, big time.”
You know damn good and well why you’re having these problems. You just don’t seem to quite get it.
Fun thing about penises, GOFLB: they’re prima-donnas. When you get one that decides that everything isn’t just right? Then they’re going to refuse to work, or they’re going to half-ass it out of protest. And you, my dude, have created a prima-donna in your pants.
It started the first time you couldn’t get it up. After all, the definition of “panic” is “the second time you can’t get it up for the first time”. You care about this woman… and that’s kind of the problem. Notice how you didn’t have any trouble banging one out with your ex? That would be because you couldn’t give a six-legged rat’s ass about what she thinks. She’s your ex, you’re just looking to prove your junk works. One roll in the hay later and hey what do you know, your one-legged soldier can stand at attention just fine.
But when it comes to your dream girl… no joy. You have gotten so far into your own head about how perfect this all has to be that it can’t be perfect. You have created a self-fulfilling prophecy: you worry that your junk isn’t going to work because your junk doesn’t work and then lo and behold… it doesn’t work. Which then makes you worry that it’s not going to work and then it doesn’t. Now you’re freaking out because you can’t get it up, she’s freaking out because she’s convinced that it means something about her which is freaking her out and…
So. Long story short: you’ve basically taught yourself to be incapable of getting erections or penetrating this woman.
Please notice very carefully that I said “penetrate”, not “have sex with”. Because hey, guess what? There’s more to sex than just your penis. Hey, your penis doesn’t work the way you wish it did. OK, fine. But there are scores of people who have non-functioning or non-existent penises who have bed-rocking, mind-blowing sex. You can take a few tips from them, ‘cuz you know what doesn’t go soft at inconvenient moments and drives women crazy when used properly? Your tongue. Your hands. Worried that you can’t get off with her – or that it’s going to go too quickly? Get familiar with vibrators and other sex toys. There are any number of ways that you can bang out with your honey, even at times when your penis is refusing to cooperate.
The sooner you take the pressure off your penis to perform, the less you define both your manhood and your relationship by having an erection that could punch through concrete, the more likely you are to get your hard-ons back. Stop treating this like an end-all, be-all and just enjoy things without the pressure to perform and you’ll be just fine.
And failing all of that? You can always smoke a bowl and let your anxieties drift away.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m a straight woman, and about a year and a half ago I met a fella named “Sam”. The connection was intense and immediate. Trick is, I was married at the time to “Kyle” but seriously depressed and unsatisfied in that arrangement. I had been trying for years to work on the marriage but Kyle had stopped participating. It felt like I was living with a friendly roommate whom didn’t care if I ever orgasmed or if I was having any fun in the relationship. Seriously. No good sex for like over a decade. And boy did I try! So anyway, along comes Sam and he’s super attentive, touchy and I develop feelings for him that I’ve never felt before. From the moment I meet him Sam is texts me everyday. I decide after about 3 months of this attention that I am going to have an affair. The affair felt like a thing I needed to do for me. I just needed to feel good for a moment after years of feeling awful. We finally get down to it and it’s freaking amazing. He’s literally all the things I’ve wanted in a lover and a friend. After a few weeks of passion, Sam has to return home. We write long letters, cry tears, and feel all the feels together.
I go to therapy for a while and with my doctor, decide that divorce is actually what I want. So I leave my husband and begin work on a new life. This whole time Sam continues texting me everyday. I do some traveling and, admittedly, lose it a little bit as my life crumbles around me and start relying on Sam to feel sane. He is seemingly doing the same thing with me as he is dealing with some crazy family crap. This is all happening but at some point I sense that Sam is pulling away, which is ok. I’m fine with “just friends” if he’d just say that. I understand that people’s feelings and situations change. Instead, he continues texting regularly and being flirty but at a superficial level. It’s super confusing.
After a few months we decide that he’ll come visit me and I literally get the text “let’s meet up and have some sex!” so I’m feeling pretty good about my chances. What I’d really like to happen is to have some fun with a person I trust within an intimate friendship. We don’t live in the same state and I’m uninterested in a long-distance commitment. So he comes to visit and does all the things that make me believe that sex is going to happen. He gets into bed with me, much cuddling, hand holding, intimate talk but when I finally try to put the moves on him he tells me that he’s not ready for that type of attention. He would love to make me feel good but he can’t do it now. I am crushed. I let him know that his actions have led to my confusion and if he wants to be friends he needs to stop touching me and stop with the flirting. He does neither for the rest of the trip. After I express that I’m uncomfortable with him being unable to respect my boundaries. He tells me that I should just accept love in the way that it comes or I’m going to have a hard time of it. I think this is utter BS.
So, because I’m a sucker, I figure that he just needs more time. Maybe he just feels weird about my divorce and our affair? I’d give up on him if he would stop contacting me all the time. I start to pull away. I go on dates and find a fun lover to get me out of the funk. Fast forward a few months and he keeps on mentioning that I should visit him. He tells me his libido is back. He tells me that he misses my breasts. He buys a new bed and sends pictures. I agree because why not see this thing through? My expectations are super low though. All I want to do is go and have a nice time. Sex isn’t necessary and I’ve made my boundaries clear.
So now I’m there. He has a new bed but I’m on an air mattress that he gets into every morning and presses his morning erection against me. Neck kisses. The whole jam. I let it happen thinking that he wouldn’t do it to me all again. Pfft. There is no sex and he starts getting super grumpy. I leave disappointed, rejected, confused and just totally done with the situation. After a last text, I tell him that I don’t like the way I’m being treated and I’d like to step back and take an extended break with hopes that we’d reconnect in the future as friends. I don’t think he’s a monster and I do think he actually cares about me but I can’t keep throwing love down the Sam hole. It’s all just too unhealthy for me.
He did text me last week and I responded but it was too soon and I went back to my silence when he replied. I just need to get my brain together without him intruding into my day to day. As of now, I’m unsure if I’ll ever reach out to him again. I guess my question is, what the hell happened? I truly don’t think I did anything wrong or offensive but I don’t understand his behavior at all. I know I made the right choice to step away by why do I keep on thinking about him all the time?
Confused and Hopefully Done
DEAR CONFUSED AND HOPEFULLY DONE: When things in your relationship suddenly change, it can be worth examining what else has changed at that time. And in your case… I suspect it was your marriage. More specifically, it was the fact that you were somebody else’s wife.
There are a lot of guys who will cheerfully bang the hell out of a married woman… but lose all interest when she’s actually not married any more. This could be for any number of reasons; they get an ego-boost from getting convincing somebody to cheat, they like the extra-hard orgasms they get knowing that she’s also sleeping with someone else, they prefer to bang women who’re completely unavailable to them… the list goes on and on.
Considering that Sam starts pulling away around the same time you start getting your life together and leave your husband? This, I suspect is not a coincidence. Now that you’re a free woman again you might have expectations of him… like, y’know, maybe actually dating. Doesn’t matter that you don’t actually want to tie him down; a lot of guys tend to think that EVERY woman is just angling to trap them into a relationship.
So why is he still being all flirty and lovey-dovey with you if he doesn’t actually want you? Who knows. It could be he’s backburner-ing you, keeping you interested just in case he decides that he happens to ride into town and decides that getting laid would be nice that night. He might be a manipulative jackass who just gets off on knowing that you want him. He could very well not realize he’s doing this and be somewhat frustrated and mystified why he can’t get interested enough to sleep with you.
Thing is: none of that matters. His reasoning is well and truly secondary to this truth: this is a toxic situation and the best thing you can do is cut your losses and go.
Why do you keep thinking about him? Because we as a species hate ambiguity and unclosed circles. His behavior makes no sense to you and so your brain is running around trying to figure out why. But at the end of the day: he’s just a dick. So let that be your answer: he acts like that because he’s a dick.
Let that be your closure and consign him to the Halls of Lovers Past. You had some good times, some naughty fun and emotional validation at a time when you needed it, but then it came to an end. Turns out he’s a dick and you’re well rid of him.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)