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I Can’t Get Him To Leave! Dear Dr. Neder,

I have read your articles on the Internet, and have found that they've answered some of my questions about a very difficult situation I'm dealing with right now. However, as everyone has unique circumstances they're in, I would like to ask you some questions about my own relationship and am truly interested to hear what you have to say. I will try and keep this brief & to the point, with only necessary details.

I'm a 26 year old female who has been with the same boyfriend for 10 years, and living with him for 5 years. I know that is a long time for someone so young, and I guess that is part of my problem. He's 4 years older than me and is very committed to staying with me, we have a lot in common and enjoy doing everything together (snowboarding, biking, climbing, camping, etc).

Anyways, my two main issues are communication and sex. I have great difficulty telling him my true feelings, he is very opinionated and tends to dominate any conversation or make me feel like what I say is wrong. So we don't have discussions about 'us', we have lots of small talk about common interests or future aspirations, and that seems to keep things going just fine. I don't dwell on the fact that we don't talk about our feelings, but now that seems to have become a problem (I'll soon tell you why!).

Now the sex part... I don't enjoy having sex with him at all, and we only do it a few times a month. He doesn't pleasure me, and he only lasts about 5 minutes. What else can I say about that... because I am young and attractive, lots of guys flirt with me and enjoy the attention. I have cheated on my boyfriend several times, he has found out about a couple. Just a few days ago we were at a party, and he walked in on me while I was making out with someone else.

Maybe I was hoping he would catch me in the act and break up with me. In any case things have been very strained since then, he has expressed his feelings about the situation, but I have been unable to. The first few days I slept on the couch, but then we went out and got drunk one night and he 'let' me sleep in our bed. He let me sleep there last night too, and it seems wrong to me. We've kind of been going about our lives like normal, we went mountain biking with a friend yesterday, had a bar-b-que last night, and went for coffee today... I'm afraid that this might just slip by with nothing said, nothing gained, but definitely something lost.

So, what advice do you have for a cheating girl who can't see herself living her life without satisfying sex, but is too afraid to leave the man who loves her and has been her best friend for 10 years? To give you a little bit more personal information about me, I'm a genuinely happy person who lives a good healthy life; I'm very personable and get along with lots of people. I'm not depressed, I don't hate myself, and I know the grass isn't always greener on the other side. I can see both sides of a story. I'm humble. My boyfriend has never cheated on me.

I'm really scared to tell him that I think I should leave. We have lots of shit together that we'd have to go through; we're paying off a truck together... I'll let him have the truck, it's easier that way. He can keep the apartment we rent too; I'll find my own place. But there's so much other stuff, I don't know where we'd begin...

Sorry that was kind of long, but it's nice to write some of this down as I haven't talked about it to anyone. ===================


Well now - aren't you two the archetypical suburban couple? You have the outward appearance of the perfect relationship while you're slowly dying inside.

Ok, let's get to the meat of this first: get your ass out of there. For your boyfriend to have just brushed this under the rug is a very bad thing. You having to find ways to get him to react is a very bad thing. There isn't much that is really healthy with this relationship from what I can see other than the fact that you're both good friends. Is that really what you want in your life? Obviously not.

Let me assure you of this: you're losing those parts of yourself by being in this unhealthy relationship. Everyday that you spend here; while tolerable, isn't helping you to move forward in any way. Get your ass out.

Now, the difficult part: your goals.

You don't have any. You want some nebulous things related to passion, closeness, introspection, etc., but you're not really even sure what they are and you're waiting for your boyfriend to give them to you. He obviously isn't going to do that. After 10 years, you'd surely have seen it by now, don't you think?

So, your first step should be to decide exactly what you want. I'd suggest you start this off with your own personal growth because this "relationship" (if you want to call it that) isn't giving you any opportunity for this. Use this exercise to craft your perfect situation. Don't put specific people into your goals - think instead about your perfect life and how it will be when you've achieved it.

The next step is your exit plan. You're going to have to make some plans as to exactly how you're going to make your move. If you need help here, check out this article on breaking up: Consider that after 10 years of being together, your lives have woven together. There are many of these strands tied together that you need to untie. Frankly, it's a little messy, but what's the alternative?

Finally, remember: every ending is a new beginning - not just for yourself but for your boyfriend too. He gets to move on as well and grow from all of this.

Best regards...


Have a love, relationship, sex or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my books, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" (volume I & II), and other products visit: Check out the discussion group at:

Copyright (c) 2004, Dr. Dennis W. Neder All rights reserved.

posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 11:14 AM

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