Please behave in the comments section today. I don't want your opinions to disappear (and this letter is tricky).
Q: I've been with my boyfriend for six years. We are talking about getting married in the next year. We get along in every way, balance each other well, and love each other very much.
Here's my problem: I think he's addicted to sex. Instead of holding my hand or wrapping his arms around me lovingly, he grabs my hand for other reasons and gives me affection that is overtly sexual. He constantly says explicit things to me (many things I can't state here) that make me feel extremely uncomfortable and creep me out. He is always complaining that he never "gets any" and that he wants to "explore" in the bedroom in ways that I am not comfortable with. I've been struggling with it for years and now I've caught him browsing the Casual Encounters ads on Craigslist.
I don't think he's cheating on me, nor I do I think he's contacted anyone from these ads. It may be more of a visual thing but I'm worried eventually he may cheat. I’ve tried talking to him about it and he just gets defensive (it's a "he can dish it but he can't take" it scenario). I wouldn't mind trying to spice it up in the bedroom but his version of that and mine are two different things. I want more romance and he wants ... something else.
Help! What do I do? I love this man and I want to marry him but I just think we may want to TOTALLY different things in the bedroom and I don't know that we will ever find compromise.
– Touchy Subject, Oregon
A: The bedroom is a very important place, TS. If you can't compromise in the bedroom, this relationship won't work. I'm actually shocked that you've made it to year six with these issues.
I'll trust the third sentence of your letter and assume that your relationship is awesome despite the sex stuff. If that's really the case, I want you to talk to your boyfriend about this issue one more time. Let him know that the conversation is important (not just a nag) and that you're doing some serious thinking. Focus on the positive -- what you enjoy about your physical relationship -- and maybe he won't get so defensive. Ask him what he wants your sex life to be like in five years. Then tell him what makes you happy. Honestly, if you can't fulfill each other's needs, you're just going to leave each other wanting.
Wouldn't it be nice to find someone who wants to hold you instead of grabbing your hand? Wouldn't it be nice to feel like you're satisfying someone in the bedroom instead of finding that person on Craigslist looking for more? Every couple goes through sexual highs and lows, but you're dealing with a constant low. Nothing is right. Your boyfriend of six years is creeping you out.
Try the discussion again. If you can't meet in the middle, please walk away and start looking for someone who can give you a big, romantic kiss without pushing for more. That's what you want.
Readers? Can this kind of problem be fixed? How should she bring this up? What if her relationship is really great in other ways? Is he addicted to sex? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.