Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.
My boyfriend's name is Charles. Charles is a great partner and friend, but recently an issue has emerged in our sex life that I am not entirely sure how to address. Early on he said that due to antidepressants, it was not really easy to have sex more than once or twice a week. At the time I told him it did not bother me and it did not. While we still have regular sex, the frequency of these intimate moments is no more than once a week. The time we spend together is fantastic; do I have any hope?
It’s fair to end a relationship if you’re not connecting sexually anymore, but it’s not fair to end it without giving the other person a say. It may be true that this didn’t bother you in the beginning, but it does now and you need to grow a pair and tell Charles.
Nobody’s sex life is perfect, even Gwyneth Paltrow’s. You have to be willing to work as a team or it’s going to get all weird and resentful at which point no, you don’t have hope. Not because of the sex, but because you’re working against one another. Make your decisions together - for example, maybe Charles needs to revisit his prescription (another dosage, another medication, etc.) Maybe you need to get sex therapy. Maybe you need to break up. That’s up to the both of you.
Most importantly, you need to spend time together learning about the different ways you can pleasure one another. These methods can include cunnilingus, sharing juice boxes, or the position we all know as the Downward Facing Meme. Even if "sex" is only happening once a week, various methods of pleasure can occur at other times.
My boyfriend Tomas comes from a religious family in Texas. Outside their church is an eclectic, graphic depiction of the crucifixion. He has told me that he does not feel he could ever commit to someone who does not have some kind of faith, since he wants to raise his children as Christians.
It's hard to know exactly how I feel about all this, since my parents never really mentioned religion at all to me, and aren't observant themselves. From what I know of his faith, there are aspects that I might struggle with, specifically instruction in abstinence before marriage.
Tomas is a wonderful person and when we do talk about God I find myself wanting to hear his views, even when I don't feel entirely comfortable airing my own. Ultimately, I don't know if I would want to raise my children in the style of his family. What should I do?
It sounds like you know a small amount about his church, but you should probably get to know more. At an appropriate time, like after sex or while you are choosing a new job, subtly find out details about his worship. Casually ask aloud, "Hey Tomas, would your church by any chance be the same church that the murderer attended in True Detective?"
You need to learn more about your boyfriend's faith before you can properly judge it. Does child sacrifice play a role? Every Sunday, do people put things in their mouth? Dicks or wafers? Check on that.
A lot of things are said in a relationship at a young age. Once you have his child in your tummy, he's not really going to be able to say no to you. He can't well force you to go to church. If he does, call the cops. He is not going to go by himself. There are plenty of places to worship in private, ideally in another state with no income tax.
You say you have trouble expressing your own views. Fine. There are many ways to influence his instead, changing them to become more like yours. Example: he strolls in from a hard day's work and you're casually reading On the Origin of the Species. When he asks what you are reading, remark that it is more spiritual than you thought it would be, and did he read that thing in the Guardian about how a girl raised in the church rebelled from its strictures and had unprotected sex in a kangaroo's pouch? Eventually he'll get the picture.
I read this advice column last week and thought I would seek some help from you. I have a very close friend who is an alcoholic. He has been to rehab twice before. He just got out of rehab and got together with his girlfriend. She swore to herself she would never get back together with him. One of the last times they saw each other he got really drunk and threaten to harm himself. The cops came and took him to the drunk tank, which landed him in rehab again.
I don't see signs of him ever improving, but I want to be there for him. I feel like our friendship has exhausted itself. The only thing from holding me back is if I'm not there for him emotionally he will take his life. I really don't want to feel this burden anymore. What do you think I should do?
Whoa. Just kidding, Evelyn. Whatever you do, do not put your friend in the ground. Even justifiable homicide carries a short but emotional prison term with it that will include Jason Biggs at first visiting you every weekend but gradually becoming disinterested over time as your looks and general appeal deteriorates.
Still, Mike's point is sound. Half-measures accomplish little to nothing: if you have a problem the important thing is whether or not it gets fixed for good. Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a troubling disease that lasts a lifetime. If this "close friend" really provides no other useful functionality in your life, just cut him off, and make him feel as bad as possible that you are doing this. If he thinks the reason is that you don't care at all, he's far more likely to make an impulsive, irreversible decision.
Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.
"Never Gonna Let You Down" - Colbie Caillat (mp3)
"If You Love Me Let Me Go" - Colbie Caillat (mp3)