Nobody wants to be in a position where they feel like the spark is slipping away from their relationship, but, sometimes, it's a harsh reality that we need to deal with. Human beings go in and out of passionate phases of life, and so, it always takes some long-term thinking and adjustment.
u/slylymessingup told us what was going on:
I [24M] feel like my [24F] girlfriend is no longer sexually attracted to me after Stoma surgery.
Me and my partner have been together for 10 months now. Everything was great between us sexually, emotionally and romantically, that is, until 3 months ago. I had an emergency surgery after perforating a bowel. The surgery was fairly unexpected and traumatic. The silver lining in this experience was her. She never left my side and helped me for the next several weeks in hospital and at home. She was my rock when I needed it most.
A stoma (a resection of my intestine to poo into a bag out of my stomach) is not a pretty experience and as such has put a major dent into my body image and general self confidence.
Prior to the surgery we would have sex very regularly, with her mostly initiating sex. Since the surgery, it has been very few times and always at my persistence.
I recently raised my concerns with her, asking if she was still sexually attracted to me. She maintains that she is just as attracted and has no issue with the stoma. Instead, she has just been very stressed with alot of things going on (career stresses mainly to my understanding) and has lost her sex drive.
I understand stress would do that, but the timing seems very coincidental. I also find difficulty in accepting her answer as I know she has a fairly high sexual partner count (in the 20's). A number that I was previously accepting of, just slightly daunted by. However, with my self-image issues and ongoing lack of intimacy, I've recently started to become insecure with the number. I hate myself for this fact. I fear that I might be acting resentful towards my partner and I know she doesn't deserve that.
I've recently been considering ending the relationship, as I don't like the person I am becoming towards her. I feel she would be better off without my insecurities and resentment in her life. I still love her, and regardless of my decision, always will love the person that she is. I just don't know that I can be with someone who I feel is sexually unattracted to me.
Am I overreacting? Any advice would be appreciated.
TL;DR Feel like my partner is no longer sexually attracted to me after surgery due to a lack of intimacy despite her denying it when raised with her. Unsure how to further approach the situation.
Here was some of the advice he got.
Your gf is probably still in nurse mode. It takes time to come out of that, and it's only been three months. Not only that, but having sex with a person recovering from major surgery is daunting, much more so when you've got a piece of medical equipment sticking out of you. It not an "Oh, gross!" thing, it's more of a "Am I going to hurt him? What if we accidentally pull it out? What if we tear something?" thing. Maybe put sex on the backburner for a few weeks and try to ease yourself back into couple mode- no-pressure cuddling, more dates, things you two did when you first started seeing each other. Like you said, she's got career stress on top of seriously injured bf stress, so don't take it personally that her sex drive took a hiatus.
It took my husband about six months to really be okay after I had major abdominal surgery, and I never took it personally because I knew that he wanted to make sure nothing happened to me like an internal stitch popping or my incision tearing open. Add to that the stress of possibly triggering my trauma response (I had almost died 6 months prior to the surgery) and it was the perfect storm of "what the f*ck do we do now?" for almost a year.
I rather wonder if you're displacing your discomfort with the entire situation onto your girlfriend, if you feel like if you just resumed your "normal" level of sexual activity the fear and the pain and the ickiness of it all would be more tolerable. However, that need for you is coming up against her need to not contribute any further to your pain or cause you any further medical stress.
It's terrifying sometimes, being the patient. You have to renegotiate your entire identity for a while. I ended up in counseling to deal with what had happened to me because I wanted to stop making everyone else in my life responsible for my recovery.
I think you might be projecting. Honestly you can't base how much sex you are going to have in a relationship on how much sex you had in the first 6 months. The beginning of relationships are fun sexy times where you generally have sex at a greater degree then you really keep up for life.
Are you not having sex enough or are you just upset because you noticed it's less and attribute it to the surgery?
Being only 7 months into a relationship and then needing to swap roles from fun-loving GF to supportive nurse GF is a big change for a relatively new relationship. Even for people who have been dating or married for years, this can be a very drastic change in the relationship. Give your GF some time adjust (or re-adjust) to your relationship.
As others have said, she may be worried about injuring you, especially after she spent so much effort helping you recover.
Finally, if what she said is true about her stress, consider that it may be time for you to be the one who's supporting and helping her through a difficult time. You've talked about what in the relationship is troubling you, but is there anything in the relationship that's troubling her? Have you asked her about whether there's anything in the relationship she'd like to address? Or if there's anything you can do to help her in her life? The relationship has been about your needs for a while, maybe it's time to address her needs.
If it's too personal you certainly don't have to answer this, but it might be something to keep in mind for yourself, but I imagine things have changed in regards to having sex in the practical sense?
Like for instance, you used to have sex when you woke up, but maybe now you need to prepare first? If things like that are different now it might be hard on her to find a new groove.
Also I can't speak for your gf, but on the partner count thing, that doesn't have to mean someone has a really high libido all the time.
Especially if it where short flings/one night stands having had multiple partners doesn't translate to having sex all the time. I mean 20 one night stands are just that, 20 nights of sex, if they're spread out over a few years, it's just not an insane amount of action.
Like if it's spread out over 5 years it's having sex 4 times a year, that's an amount people would post to deadbedrooms for.
Eh, you are totally projecting, but I am going to take the complete opposite opinion to everyone else. I do think that you should break up. Almost everyone goes through libido ups and downs at different times in life. Many women experience lower libido at different times in life due to many different factors, especially stress, caregiving, self image, and many other things you guys haven't had to deal with yet like pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, and so on.
It's a thing and it happens a lot. If you are going to lose your shit every time someone experiences a lower libido, take it personally, resent them, and pressure them for sex, then that's not a relationship you should be in.
Make sure you find someone whose libido doesn't lower in response to stressors or anything else.
My husband had an ostomy for a while, and it was a super difficult time for us. (not like our relationship was in danger, it was just hard) It is really hard to be the cheerful caregiver, even when you're super worried and feeling beat up yourself, and the person you would normally turn to during all of this is the one person you can't even let show that you're feeling even slightly overwhelmed by it all, because you don't want to make them feel bad. So the career stress might not be the real source of stress, but is just the easiest stress to blame for it all.
If you really care about her, give her time, do things for her, acknowledge that you being so sick was hard on her too, and how much it means to you that she stuck by your side and was such a huge source of support. If she normally has a higher sex drive, this will sort itself out in time, and the fact that she's still there means that she's in it for the long haul, and that she wants to make it work. Work with her.
Are you in therapy to deal with this traumatic experience?? It sounds like it's triggered a lot of negative thinking and ruminating in you and you'd be better served to deal with your internal issues before telling your gf she isn't meeting your needs and btw she totally extra needs to because she got around a lot before starting a relationship with you. All that insecurity would still exist if you left her, because it's in you.
Please don't chuck away the relationship. 3 months is not enough time, you are both still adjusting. Best thing to do is to talk to her and say, even though she says work is stressing her out, however the coincidence has your doubting yourself. It may also be that you are projecting your own insecurities onto the situation. Another explanation may be that deep down subconsciously, she is afraid of hurting you. No one will know until you have the conversation.
I think that you're getting in your own way OP. Have you considering going to counselling for your body-image issues? My boyfriend got his stoma when we were 22 and his self-image really struggled. He ended up getting counselling and it really helped. There are ebbs and flows in any relationship and I don't think you should end things with her because of this if she states the issues are from external factors.
Also how much have you too discussed your stoma? It's also possible that she isn't very educated on it and could be worried about hurting you during sex. etc.
I think that open communication and education really helped my boyfriend and I normalize his stoma so it wasn't an issue.
According to one misguided interpretation of The Clown Prince of Crime: "We live in a society."
What's something that people glamourize but it's actually just extremely toxic?
Just when you think you're doing something with a positive impact on someone's life, turns out you've gone and made the wrong decision.
Be Selective With Whom You Tell This To
"Be yourself", "You're perfect just the way you are", and "Never let anyone change you" are double edged swords that enable horrible people to justify continuing to be horrible or continue destructive behaviors that harm themselves or the people around them."
"Sometimes people need to change."
"It's also a cheap way out of growing yourself."
"I like 'be the person you want to be' much more than 'be yourself'. It recognizes that yeah, we each have our own shortcomings, and we shouldn't just accept every single bad trait, but at the same time, we can also accept ourselves knowing that were taking steps towards improvement."
"Especially when it comes to dating, you often get the advice that 'hey, just be yourself and talk to her/him'. That isn't really helpful if someone's 'self' is an awkward, nervous wreck. I think that telling someone to just accept who they are and their feelings in the moment is far better advice, because it recognizes the problem, and the fact that it's natural to be a bit on edge in that situation."
"Creates the sort of people sharing memes like "if you can't handle me at my doodliest, you don't deserve me at my diddliest"
Treat Them Like Who They Are: People
"Treating disabled people as if they were there just to inspire non-disabled people. Just let them be, it's not their job to inspire you"
"As a disabled person, I've lost count of the amount of times I've been called "inspirational" purely for still existing. Like, I'm just alive, I've done nothing spectacular."
Developing a misguided work ethic can come without much self-input. If you're working on a team, surrounded by people chasing that "hustle," then odds are you're going to be staying late, working overtime, and ignoring the people you have waiting for you at home.
Completely Devoted To A "Company"
"Working long hours"
"I worked for a manager once who, while bragging about his dedication to the company, proudly declared that he hadn't spent Thanksgiving with his family in 11 years. Sorry, dude. That's not something to be proud of."
"Adding to that, misplaced loyalty to a company."
"I had a part time job at Tesco's once as a student (supermarket chain in the UK). This particular branch was a Tesco Express, which is very small like a corner shop or bodega."
"The manager was a horrible woman in her 50s called Andrea who would try and boast how she had been working at Tesco since she was 16, she seriously saw herself as a huge success because she'd gone from a shelf stacker to manager over a period of 30 years."
"I would have felt a little sorry for her if she wasn't such a total B*TCH all the bloody time."
Killing Yourself For The "Hustle"
"Working overtime on a daily basis."
"I see this a lot with new hires, who think that working themselves to death will impress the company and help them advance."
"Too many good people have burned out on lack of sleep, rest, and too many energy drinks, just to try to impress an uncaring boss."
"Sadly, so many of them don't listen."
Get Those Late Hours, Bro
"Being sleep deprived"
"Just had a conversation today with a colleague about how the worst thing you can do to yourself is deprive your body a good night rest. He looked at me like a grew a 2nd head when I informed him I prioritize at least 8-9 hours of sleep daily."
This has already proved to be a big issue with the inexperienced-in-love group. When you don't have proper guidance, or gentle experiences, most your knowledge about being a relationship can come from movies.
Which isn't great.
Screams Loud And Clear
"People that describe their relationship as "when it's bad it's bad, but when it's good it's like nothing you've ever known" (or some variation of this). Like nahhh, that screams abusive to me."
"That's called a trauma bond"
Don't Burn The Ones You Love For 'Likes'
"Tiktok trends that challenge or test trust in relationships. It's not funny or cool to mess with someone's feelings and trust just for more views."
"If a girl locked me outside the car and started threatening to go through my phone(a trend right now), I would pretend to be okay with it, let her do the snooping to clear her pretenses, then immediately break up with her. If my affirmation is not enough for you, either our trust or your insecurities are not ready for a relationship."
I Love You Debt MUCH
"Huge weddings you can't afford"
"I honestly hate that too! Bride and groom are left broke, and both the families are showing off photos of the reception"
"I only have one thing I tell people when they get engaged : Don't get a loan."
"Everytime they've laughed in my face but then, six months down the line I can see they're deep in the fog and think three grand on an expense for one day "isn't such a bad deal! It has to be perfect!"
"Don't start your marriage in debt for the wedding."
All Together: "No Means No."
"Pursuing a romantic interest after they've turned you down"
"THIS. I was on a discord server during quarantine where amongst many other great people I got to know this guy who took an interest in me, I didn't take an interest in him though so I turned him down. At that time I didn't know yet that before we started talking he started being really interested in another girl who turned him down as well."
"After I turned him down dude started getting obsessed over her again, tried "wooing" her all the time even though she explicitly told him she doesn't want to have any contact with him several times and blocked him on every form of social media. The cherry on top was when several months later he randomly sent flowers to her house on another continent WITHOUT HER EVEN KNOWING HE HAS HER ADDRESS. She told us and someone gave him so much sh-t for that and he just wouldn't see how wrong and creepy that was."
"That was just a fraction of the sh-t he did btw but let's just say I'm pretty glad I didn't start a relationship with him. Real life is not a movie people. When someone tells you to leave them alone leave them the frick alone."
Be aware of what you're doing. Think through your actions. Be considerate of how what you do impacts others.
You know, kindness.
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There are creepers in our midst. Sometimes, they are the most unassuming types.
Lone straphangers on a semi-crowded subway are a dime-a-dozen, and they seem to mind their own business.
But when you notice out of your peripheral a person staring at you and grabbing their crotch, well, it's time to either get off at the next stop or move to another car.
Yeah, it happens.
"What's the creepiest thing you caught someone doing?"
How well do you know your friends? These Redditors wished they could unlearn some things while others realized it's been too long since they've last seen acquaintances from the past.
When I was 13, I went to a friends house. He put his dog under his bed covers and made the dog lick his nipples repeatedly."
."...needless to say, I didn't go back to his house again."
"When we were about 18 years old my friend Rich was telling me he was being followed by a strange dude with long hair, beard and mustache. He said he would turn around and see the guy following him from a distance. At night Rich would look out his front window and see the guy standing in the middle of the road staring at his house. 2 weeks later we finished up our band practice in our lead guitarist's back yard and Rich left to put his amp in his car. A few moments later Rich came running back terrified saying the bearded guy was out front and that he was coming through the gate to the backyard. I saw the creep come in and he asked 'Rich?' a few times. Rich asked who he was and he said 'Doug.' They had been schoolmates but Doug had moved away for a few years and grew his hair long. Rich asked him why he didn't say anything earlier and Doug said he was nervous about approaching Rich because he wasn't sure it was him. So he just stalked him for 2 weeks and Rich was terrified the entire time."
Lurkers and stalkers are unnerving, but these creeps have gone way too far.
Malicious Bar Patron
"I watched a guy ghost up to the bar while I was drinking with friends, drop something into a girls drink and fade back into the crowd. Super stealthy and if I hadn't been looking down at the bar I wouldn't have caught it."
"Notified the bartender, and the girl. He exchanged the drink, no questions, the bouncer asked me some questions about the guy, and I never found out how it ended up. Scary how fast it happened."
"I was in bed lounging around in my former boyfriends house (who lived with his parents at the time), and I heard a knock. I ignored it because I was too sleepy to care. Then I heard the door open a crack."
"Maybe it was instinct, but I knew I was being stared at. I opened one of my eyes slightly and saw my boyfriend's dad peeking at me through the crack in the door."
"We locked gazes and he scurried off, awkwardly."
"I never returned to that house again, and never told anyone."
"Ok, nobody is going to believe this, but I swear on my life, in roughly 1990, on a greyhound bus, I saw an old lady unwrap and eat a condom. It haunts me to this day…"
Some people are neighborly by nature. But there ought to be limitations.
Neighbor At The Loo
"Once I was taking a sh*t in a public restroom and heard weird noises, so I looked under the stall to check the feet of the dude next to me. I'm not sure why, I just did it to be safe. Turns out the dude next to me was checking at the exact same time I was. It was so f'king awkward as we made eye contact nearly upside down by our underwear. I guess it was weird for both of us."
"My neighbor stands in the backyard and stares through my windows. She also stands outside my apartment door and occasionally follows me into town and into stores."
"She's a well known creep in town but nothing can be done really because that's as far as she ever takes it also, my state doesnt have great stalking laws so the police can't touch her either."
You would think crowded subways would be places for creeps to avoid doing their pervy things. But being caught must be an added thrill for such offenders.
A friend of mine was literally groped by a strap hanger as she and I boarded the packed subway car.
She yelled directly, at him, "Did you just grab my A**???"
The non-reactive not-so-gentleman just stood there as every passenger glared at him for his ride of shame.
Although we doubted he needed to get off at the next stop, it was good to see him haul his own a** off the train.
Creeps, beware. You never know who won't put up with your handsy proclivities.
It seems that it's far more common to hear somebody complain about their job than to hear them give a glowing review of their line of work.
But before you think that everyone out here is miserable, there are some people who do like their work.
These beloved jobs come in all different shapes and sizes. And they're enjoyed for just as many various reasons: the lack of stress, the excitement of the work, the hours, or even the co-workers may all be good reasons to have a decent enough time at work.
Perhaps curious about the decent jobs out there, Redditor KM5550 asked:
"People who actually love their jobs: how and why?"
Many discussed the jobs that allow them to work outside, rather than sitting at a desk in an office all day long.
We All Know That Guy
"I'm the guy who gets to wave glow sticks at the airport and help parallel park airplanes. The only downside is that I have to stay outside at all times"
Furry Friends All Day Long
"Dog walker here. I love being outside all day, little to no contact with humans, and spending everyday with all kinds of fun and adorable dogs, there is virtually no downside."
"They are so happy to see me and even happier to walk. It's seriously criminal that I get paid to do this lol"
Close to Earth
"I own and run a farm. We do a lot of gourmet mushrooms, garlic, specialty fruits, etc. I have always loved to cook. Cooking with fresh local ingredients is awesome."
"Basing your life around producing those ingredients, cooking with them, and sharing with your community is amazing. I would never have a normal 'job' again."
"It really is true that with some persistence and a bit of luck you can find a job that doesn't feel like work."
Others enjoy their work for all the time they get to spend with children. There is never a dull moment with those zany, tiny children.
Blowing (Up) Minds
"I'm a science teacher. I love working with kids, I love that I don't have administrative responsibilities. All I have to do is make lesson plans, and teach those plans, and I can refine them through the day as needed. If a lesson goes great, I can save it for the next year, and there is no shortage of good ideas online."
"It is infinitely more rewarding helping kids understand difficult concepts and seeing those 'aha!' moments, much better than my previous soul-crushing desk job."
"Also, every now and then I get to blow sh** up with a bunch of kids."
Legos Is a Nice Perk
"Pediatric registered nurse. When I'm done my assessments, medication administration, and charting, I spend my downtime building Legos and playing video games with my patients."
"Pretty sweet gig."
Concocting Behind Closed Doors
"I'm an art teacher. I shut my door, interpret the curriculum how I see fit, and have a blast making amazing projects with my kids."
"Since it's art, nobody really gives a crap about what I'm doing, as long as my kids are working. It gives me a lot of freedom to teach what I think is appropriate."
Others highlighted their work in manual labor or service industry positions. Those these often get a bad rap, these jobs are apparently rather enjoyable.
A Pragmatic Skill
"I love working in manufacturing/welding. There's a lot of satisfaction in creating something out of something else. I take pride that my work meets specs and the money is ok."
"It's not necessarily a rare skill set, but not everyone can do it. I've struggled with ADD and depression, so being successful at my trade is very important to me."
Some Peace of Mind
"Worked retail for 10 years. Took a pay cut to go to a different, small grocery store. It's kind of like a David's if anyone knows that chain. Bit bigger, it's in a rich a** development. Old white folk (nice tips sometimes randomly just for pointing out the bananas or something)"
"So I'm the only one in the produce department, aka I run this, zero supervision. It's pretty nice. I can take breaks whenever I want, free lunch from the deli, don't have to deal with customers aside from the occasional "where is X". Pretty sweet gig."
"But I've already gotten a raise to match my previous salary. And the usual promises of more. We'll see about that, but I'm happy for now, they're happy with me. All is well, and I'm not pi**ed off all day anymore."
"Only complaint would be that because the way the trucks are scheduled I don't get two days in a row off anymore. But oh well. I can deal."
"I left my career and the big hustle of the city (LA, and before that Toronto), and moved to a tiny town in the mountains where I took a job as a baker. It's like living in a Hallmark movie; there isn't a stop light around for like 30 miles and everything is all alpine village-y and."
"I make half the money I did at my old desk job but my expenses are half what they were, and I have ZERO stress - our customers are always happy because pie."
Just a Fine Job
"I'm a member of the International Union of Elevator Constructors. I install elevators for a living. The benefits and pay are incredible. The work is very satisfying and I actually enjoy coming into work every day."
"It can get stressful and some days are way harder than others but generally it's a pretty fun job building sh** and using tools all day."
So if you're looking to make a massive career change to feel less stress, perhaps these jobs are worthy of some thought.
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How many times have you stubbed your toe because you weren't paying attention and banged it against some furniture? Hurts like hell, doesn't it? Have you ever slipped outside because you didn't realize the rain––or ice––on the roads would be so slick? You probably have (and hopefully you didn't bang yourself up too much). You probably hope no one was looking... to save yourself from certain embarrassment.
Believe it or not, there are people out there who've fared worse.
People were all too willing to share their experiences after Redditor 7937397 asked the online community,
"What is the stupidest injury you've ever gotten?"
"Then got laid off."
"Leaned forward to look at my face closely in the bathroom mirror. Vertebrae in my lower back slipped out of position. Nine weeks on disability. Then got laid off."
It's true what they say... when it rains, it really pours.
"I once injured my leg..."
"I once injured my leg by jumping off the back of a moving truck, so that I wouldn't be in trouble for riding on the back of a moving truck."
"I once broke my thumb..."
"I once broke my thumb trying to give someone a hug.
Awkwardly caught it on their body and the ligament of my stretched thumb popped off and took some bone with it!"
How did you do that?!
I mean... I know you explained it and all, but... how did you do that?!
"I wasn't watching..."
"I've hurt myself in many weird ways, so this was tough to figure out. A while ago I was riding my bike and saw a rabbit. I wasn't watching where I was going and rode off a retaining wall. I got a concussion from that."
"When it reopened..."
"When I was 5, I was stepped on by a llama. My mom said I had a llama foot-shaped bruise on my back for a couple of weeks.
They closed the petting zoo after that. When it reopened, they no longer allowed people inside the animal pens."
Ah, I see now.
So you're the one who ruined it for everyone else. Gotcha.
(Great story, though.)
"When I was six..."
"When I was six my forehead was really itchy but it was one of those deep itches that you couldn't really scratch out. So my bright 6-year-old brain told me to get into an all-fours position and try rubbing my forehead into the carpet… well I did that and ended up taking a small layer of skin off that took ages to heal completely."
Imagine walking in on your kid and seeing this.
You'd think they were possessed.
"I punched myself..."
"I punched myself in the forehead during an improv comedy bit and gave myself a concussion."
This begs the question...
So are you really strong?
Or just really weak?
"Severed three tendons..."
"Severed three tendons in my left hand while slicing a bagel. Basic tendon repair went over well, but my middle finger got infected. They had to put a tendon from my leg into my hand. Three surgeries over a bagel."
This one wins.
Sorry, everyone. You can all go home now.
"I decided it would be quicker to walk down an incline of tennis-ball-sized rocks in flip flops with my hands full than walk around on the pavement. I was right - I descended quickly!"
"I had lost..."
"I had lost about 30 pounds, and my belt was getting too big. Most people would say "oh, time to buy a new belt!" The craftier of us might say "time to get out my leather punch!" I say "time to dig a hole in the belt with my folding pocket knife!"
It folded in on itself while I was digging a new hole in the leather and cut my thumb to the bone, and had to go to urgent care to get it stitched up.
My wife bought me a leather punching tool for Christmas that year."
We hope you're all thinking twice of playing with knives... or jumping off trucks... or even going outside.
Just stay indoors, preferably in bed. You should be safe. God-willing.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us all about them in the comments below!
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