Welcome to Relationship Rehab, news.com.au’s weekly column solving all your romantic problems, no holds barred. This week, our resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie tackles a man dealing with an “abundance” of casual sex, a bisexual woman experiencing feelings for a friend and a husband with a hot temper.
WOMEN CAN’T STOP ASKING ME FOR SEX
QUESTION: I’m a male in my early 30s and have been single for a couple of years. I’ve noticed that girls around my age group are much more interested in me than when I was in my early 20s.
Now that I’m getting a lot of attention from attractive women and sleeping with a number of them on and off, the idea of settling down with just one seems undesirable.
I’d like to have a family one day, but I have many years, maybe a decade to make that decision. Do I need to make a choice now or should I just enjoy the abundance?
ANSWER: There’s nothing wrong with not choosing a long-term relationship – at any age. As you’ve mentioned, as a male in your early 30s, you have years where this option is available to you, you certainly don’t need to make a choice now.
I’m wondering why you reached out to ask the question though. Is there something about this that you’re not really happy with? Or does it feel more like the expectations of society and others that you’re not living up to?
Whatever choice you make is okay. Just be aware of what you’re doing and why. Sometimes, we need to be a bit honest with ourselves about what’s really going on and what we want.
What is it about not settling down that is so appealing to you right now? Does it give you a sense of freedom? A boost to your self-esteem? Is it fulfilling for you?
Although we can justify our actions and choices based on the circumstances, there are sometimes deeper issues going on under the surface. Is there anything that you’re avoiding by not being more deeply intimate with these women? Is this a pattern of relationships that you saw modelled earlier in your life?
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Sometimes avoidance of committed relationships is due to something known as our attachment style which develops early in our lives, but then impacts the rest of our relationships going forward.
People who avoid close, intimate relationships tend to have what is known as “avoidant attachment style”. They value self-sufficiency and independence. It can stem from having to be emotionally self-sufficient in childhood and never feeling like you can rely on anyone else.
This might not be you and there might not be something going on here, but it is worth asking yourself these questions.
Make sure you’re being clear with the women you’re sleeping with about what you’re looking for. Women experience a very real biological clock and have less time to make this decision to settle down than men. It they’re happy having these short term relationships or casual sex, then there isn’t a problem.
I do know that one question that arises from my girlfriends when we meet men in their late 30s and beyond who are single is: Has he ever had a long-term relationship before? Why not? It can make us wary and not see you and a good potential partner later on.
Of course it’s understandable that you’re enjoying the “abundance” as you put it now. This could also change for you at some point. Ultimately, you should stay in a relationship because it’s the right one, not because you feel like you should or it’s the right time to.
I’M HAVING FEELINGS FOR MY SAME-SEX FRIEND
QUESTION: I’ve recently come out as bisexual and I’m starting to develop feelings for a female friend. I’m not sure if she feels the same way and don’t want to scare her off – what’s a low-pressure way to find out if she feels the same way?
ANSWER: Congratulations on having been willing to acknowledge your true feelings and identity. It’s a big step to take.
It can be really scary to look at moving any friendship into a more romantic relationship, as we never want to risk the friendship.
Find out if your friend is open to spending more time with you one-on-one. It gives you a chance to clarify your true feelings for her and get a sense of how she might feel about you.
Does there seem to be attraction there? Does she flirt with you? How does she respond to your compliments or flirting?
If she seems uncomfortable with it, she might not be interested, but if she responds well, there might be a chance.
HOW DO I DEAL WITH MY HUSBAND’S SHORT FUSE?
QUESTION: My husband seems to have an extremely short fuse these days and is always yelling at the kids, I think undeservedly. How do I raise this without it becoming a fight?
ANSWER: Research shows that as women are most likely to raise issues in our relationship, the way we do this is pivotal to the harmony and happiness of a relationship.
Whatever issue you have to raise, it’s most effective do this in what’s called a “gentle start-up”. This means doing it gently and with consideration of how it might feel for your partner to hear it.
I’m wondering what’s going on for your husband that he has a short fuse. It sounds like he may be struggling with something within himself.
Share that you’re concerned about him and that you’re wondering what’s going on for him.
Perhaps also voice that you feel scared when he yells at the kids because it’s important to you that he has a good relationship with them and everyone gets along.
You might then be able to both support him with whatever is challenging for him and come up with some practical strategies for dealing with things together.
Isiah McKimmie is a couples therapist, sex therapist and sexologist. For more expert advice follow her on Instagram.
If you have a question for Isiah, email firstname.lastname@example.org