My girlfriend's drifting away

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Male
Over the past few months, my girlfriend has become increasingly distant, moody, and less affectionate. This is in stark contrast to how our relationship used to be, for example, we used to have a very active and varied sex-life; now, and this is the truth, we haven't had sex in more than a month! Also, she never seems to want to make time for us, allow me to explain; My girlfriend has a child from a previous relationship, this poses no problems and I regard her as my own and she looks upon me as an extra dad. Unfortunately having a child depletes the amount of time available, to my girlfriend and I, in which to have some 'quality time' as the child only spends one night a week at her fathers (Friday night to Saturday evening). This precious period of time, in an otherwise hectic week, we used to reserve for ourselves and spend either by going out, having a cosy night in with a meal and a bottle of wine or, if the mood took us, indulging in more adventurous sex play (as opposed to the quick, quiet one with the lights out incase we wake the little girl).

Now, my girlfriend far prefers to go out with her friends on Friday nights, as she has done for the past six weeks, with the exeption of last week, when I insisted that we spend the night together, which consisted of a video, two bottles of wine and her falling asleep on the sofa, oh yeah, and no sex, no affection, and barely any physical contact whasoever. It's not that I mind her going out with her friends, I don't, there would certainly be a row if she ever told me that I couldn't go out with mine. I just feel as though there's nothing there anymore, that, to coin a phrase, I'm 'flogging a dead horse'.

My girlfriend is currently studying in college and I am currently unemployed and going through the police force recruitment process (Apptitude tests, medical tests, fitness tests, interviews and yet more interviews) following my degree at Liverpool University. I can appreciate how the combined stress of study and raising a child can make her feel tired and washed out, but I travelled 70 miles to Liverpool and back every day for three years, leaving at 7.30am and not getting back until gone 7.00pm without feeling that tired. She has a ten minute bus ride to college and is home by 4.00pm, at the latest. Also she doesn't seem to feel tired when she's going out with her friends on Friday night. As for any other information I can give you, we have been together for about a year and a half, we live seperately (she has an apartment in Llandudno in North Wales and I live in the nearby village of Deganwy), we have been engaged for about a year and, as I've said, untill recently we have been very happy. I hope you can help me, I'm at my wits-end. Advice
Well, there seem to be several things going on here.

First the sex. Sorry to say, most relationships go that way :) Most relationships are very sex-filled in the beginning because you're both 'new' and 'exciting'. But after a few months to a few years, things calm down. You've been there, done that. Many married couples have sex once every few weeks to once a month. It's not that they don't like sex. But they have had sex so many times that it's sort of 'with them constantly' and just cuddling or holding is just as good. And sure they have sex too, but it's not urgent. It's like say chocolate. If you've never had chocolate before and then find some, you might gorge on it. But if you had a pound of chocolate 3 times a day for a year straight, you might start to lessen your consumption of it.

So anyway, that's fine. But it does sound in general like you are drifting apart. I am in general a HUGE fan of people having friends separate from partners and having fun with them, and having 'their own life'. It's very healthy. But it's supposed to stay in balance with the partner connection. The friends shouldn't overrun the partner, just as the partner shouldn't overrun the friends. If she always makes time for friends, and never makes time for you, her priorities aren't on your relationship. Relationships don't just 'happen' - they take constant, steady effort. Otherwise they drift apart.

It sounds like you aren't talking much, if all this is going on and you haven't really found out why. Relationships are all about communication, so it's time to start. Arrange to have a dinner at her house (so she feels 'safe') the next Friday that you can. Have a good filling meal of her favorite foods so she's comfortable and relaxed. Then sit down and talk openly and honestly - NOT accusing. Say you love her. That you want her to be happy, and that you want your relationship to be full of love and happiness. And that you sense that she's not fully happy with things right now. Ask her why that is, and how you can help. Then listen. Don't interrupt, don't say "but". Just say "OK, I hear you" and really try to hear her.

If she evades, remind her that for this to work, you both have to trust each other and be fully open. Otherwise, how can you deal with anything when you're married? Hopefully you can get to the root of what is bothering her, and find a solution you can both work on together. The *together* part is the key, because it means you both jointly believe in the relationship working and are willing to put in the time and energy to make it work.

Good luck!

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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