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.
The amount of frivolous personal complaints seems to have hit new levels.
Whether it's complaints from co-workers or customers, nonsense is nonsense. The things I've heard people complain about in the workplace boggles my mind.
"Your smile isn't bright enough."
"I didn't feel appreciated."
"The color of your shirt is too loud."
"Your name is offensive."
Redditor InfiniteCalendar1 wanted to hear about some of the drama that's been thrown people's way, so they asked:
"What is the most ridiculous thing someone has filed a complaint against you or someone you know about?"
I once had a customer complain I didn't read the menu to her.
Not make suggestions, but literally read the menu to her.
"you guys have a great day"Giphy
"Working in retail I once said 'you guys have a great day' I was reported by an elderly women who objected to not being addressed as 'ma'am'."
"She also objected to 'have a great day' because she had come into the aquarium store because her fish was dead and she was upset that someone would tell her to 'have a great day' when her fish had died."
A measly grand?
"I got sued in small claims court by a mentally ill man who said I stole $1000 worth of roast beef and 2 sun tanning lights from him."
"It got continued twice and by the time we had our day in court, he forgot what he sued me for and just went off on a tirade about me being an a**hole."
"I once had a complaint filed against me for calling someone a slur in the elevator. My boss called me in, and we watched the camera footage from the elevator."
"Me and the other person were talking and having a good conversation and laughing with each other. My boss just said 'yeah I watched it earlier and I have no idea what they are talking about'."
"So someone tried to get me fired for no reason."
(manager and up)
"I once was told there was a high-level (manager and up) meeting being held about me… on account of my emails being written too well. :/ "
"I can write quick, well-worded emails, and someone in upper management thought that I must have been spending too much time writing my emails, possibly as a means of appearing to be superior to others."
"I worked at McDonalds. A man put a complaint in because I wouldn't let him in after we'd already shut."
Yeah, closed means closed.
You had time to get there during open hours. See you tomorrow.
We have lives too.
No thank you...Giphy
"Got a complaint filed against me by a customer for unnecessary rudeness because I turned down a guy's offer to take me out on a date."
"He asked me (repeatedly) while I was working. Dude was at least in his mid 40s; I was 16."
a scarlet letter...
"When I was a teenager working at an ice cream store, a secret shopper wrote that I was 'friendly but did not smile'."
"This write up was posted on the bulletin board like it was a scarlet letter of shame and the manager talked to me about smiling more."
"30 years later, I am still friendly but unsmiling."
A Little Off
"I had a coworker from a different department call me this morning and threatened me for something his boss had done regarding something I have no control over."
"I eventually got him to sheepishly admit that there was nothing I had control over in the situation and he was mad his boss had made the decision without consulting him first."
"Government work attracts some odd balls."
I hate retail!
"I was working in a lighting store (ceiling lights, chandeliers, etc). Secret shoppers would get sent over to us every so often and they were usually pretty obvious."
"This guy claimed he needed ceiling fans for his home so I go through the whole thing finding fans that work in his rooms, suit the design of his home, airflow needs, etc. But obviously without a specific need to buy something requiring electrical wiring this guy left without purchasing."
"He wrote that I was excellent in every way but didn't try to upsell him anything."
"At the next staff meeting the manager read this out, tried shame me in front of everyone and stressed that we need to try and sell people crap they don't even need."
"How the heck do I upsell a damn ceiling fan? 'Hey would you like a $2000 crystal chandelier with your fans? How about a set of garden lights?' I hate retail."
Stay Literate...Read Friends Tv GIFGiphy
"I once had a coworker file an HR complaint against me for reading books at lunch."
"I told HR that he's probably just offended I'm not reading hardcore pornography magazines on the clock like he does."
I'm so glad I work at home with only dogs and a cat.
And when I go outside I avoid eye contact for all of these reasons.
Find some inner peace folks.
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Death is coming for all of us.
I hate that fact about life, so I do my best to ignore it. But I know it's there. So every once in a while I can't help but wonder about it.
My biggest hope is the end is quick and painless, but some warning would be nice, so I have time to do a few things.
I often ponder what that list of "things" would entail if I was given a warning.
And what if that ending was coming fast? How do you sufficiently spend a few hours wrapping up a life?
Redditor Valleygawd wanted to hear about how we would spend those final, precious moments by asking:
"You have 24 hours left alive, what do you do for your last day on earth?"
"Say goodbye to all my friends, go outside and take my dog on a long walk and then back home to have pizza and await my fate."
"Eat McDonald's at a Burger King. What they gonna do, send me to jail for life."
"I'd buy two large fries and two large cokes at Mcdonald's and take them over to Burger King and order two whoppers for lunch."
"I know this is satire, but a buddy of mine once got kicked out of a McDonald's lobby for bringing in KFC. We were all in high school and meeting to do homework but instead we all ended up leaving."
You've Got Mail
"Send out a chain message to everyone I know saying that if you don't share this with 10 people, the person you received this message from will die tomorrow."
"Plus add on that if the people they share it to don't share it to 10 other people, they will die themselves."
"If I'm guaranteed 24 hours alive I will do a ton of extremely dangerous crap because I can't die until the 24 hours are up."
"Morphine drip is how a lot of us go anyhow. Doesn't seem so bad."
Well that should keep the time lively, but I don't understand doing things that could cut short what little time there already is.
To each their own, I guess.
Out & AboutGiphy
"If I'm gonna die, then they might as well know. I'm coming out, doing what I want for once and having the most comforting day in my life."
Expose it All
"Tell everyone I love how I feel and then get all my passwords and crap in order so people can close out all my online activities. Then go hold my wife until I die... well, probably I'll go sit in the emergency room to die so my wife doesn't have to remember me dying in her arms the rest of her life."
"Rack up as much debt as I can buying expensive things and hiding them for my family to find later (after the estate has been sorted out)."
"Makes me wonder if I have 50k in CC debt and 75k in the bank, does my family get all 75 or will the bank be legally entitled to get 50k back?"
"The banks get 50k and your family gets the leftovers. If you don't have enough money then your estate is dissolved and your family gets nothing, the debt goes away (unless someone tricks your fam into paying the debt with their money)."
Send the Message
"Spend the 24 hours with my kids and family cultivating a few last precious memories for them. Also a few hours staving off sleep recording messages for them to be able to listen to when they are older - things they aren't old enough to hear, but I would like them to hear from me when they are ready for the message."
I don't know anymore...
"Well, I wouldn't live long enough to face the consequences for whatever I do, so I'd do some things I see as bad ideas at the moment:"
"I'd cuss out my most hated person in the world. Forget that guy."
"I'd tell my best friend (former best friend? I don't know anymore...) how I feel about them, and apologize for hiding it."
"Other than that, I dunno what I'd do, maybe spend time with friends or family or panic. Make sure to let everyone know that I wouldn't be around much longer."
Where to Begin?Giphy
"Fix my will, delete all electronics, call a firm to take my stuff to goodwill, call a real estate agent and put apartment for sale, give my organs to hospital. And if time, I reckon a good nap and massage would be nice too."
Is there really a best way to spend your last 24 hours?
You can't travel, that's time consuming. There will always be so much more to do.
Que será, será, I suppose.
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You never really know the people you meet.
Sound a little too much? You'd be surprised.
Who was the most dangerous person you've meet?
You can meet people randomly, anywhere, who might possess more than what's on the surface. Either their past, or their present, dictates their capabilities, and if you say or do the wrong thing, they could lash out at you at any moment.
Say More Right Now!
"My ex. He was handsome and charismatic and very charming. Like a monster in beautiful sheep's clothing. Suddenly after a few fingers of Brandy, he made Charles Manson look inviting. It took 4.5 years, a hostage situation, a SWAT team, and me changing my name and moving 5 states to get away."
"Some people need warning labels."
Needing Something To Help Change
"A guy who I knew for a long time, was extremely friendly and overall a nice guy, we used to live in the same building but didn't hang out often."
"Time passed and I didn't see him for years, though he headed back to the state his family lives at, pretty far from where I live, instead, I learned after he got released that he went to prison for 7 years for drug dealing and [selling] illegal guns, turns out the guy was kind of a big shot in organized crime [around] the area, never suspected a thing."
"Now days he did a completely 180°, his daughter was born and he's working in a honest job, I'm glad things are looking better for him, still kinda weird, I used to play soccer with the guy and thought I knew him well, when in fact I knew nothing about him..."
Not Full Of It
"So seems like everyone is naming off various criminals. I was in the military (not me or any of my close buddies, I was a mechanic). One of the instructors in my training company was a sniper with many deployments and a slew of confirmed kills. Sometimes instructors like to hype themselves or fellow instructors up to scare recruits. Well I ended up running into him a few years later on deployment and turns out he was indeed not full of sh-t. He was about to board one of birds to go out on a mission. One that ended being "successful". Also, outside of boot camp, he was a very calm and genuinely nice guy. Unless you were the enemy of course"
"I once met a violent felon from England who had just been released from prison. My cousin took me to a random house party, I started a conversation with the other person that seemed awkward there. Turns out they had just been released from prison recently for violent offense. To make matters worse, instead of flashing him the peace sign as I left, apparently I made a vulgar gesture and I had to get to the vehicle quickly."
It's always the ones you least expect, right? The ones who are maybe a little too quiet, or maybe a little too nice, who reveal themselves to be the most deadly.
A Lot For Someone Under 18
"Grew up with a kid on my street in a small town. He was a few years older than kinda a punk as a kid, but we all were. Used to skateboard, rollerblade and he would show me Explicit music when I was too young to get it myself. Come high school time we never really associated because he had gotten heavily into drugs. Got into a bad meth deal and went back and blew their heads off a few blocks from our houses… After the whole story came out, it turns out they had tied him to a chair and burnt him with cigarettes repeatedly. Obviously killing someone is wrong but, I'm fairly certain a child doesn't deserve full punishment for killing 2 men who tortured him. I'm pretty sure he got life in prison before he even turned 18"
Almost Hired Them
"We had a young carpenter come to our home to discuss a remodeling job when we had young children."
"Very soon afterward there was an article in the newspaper about him - how he had been accidentally released from prison. He had murdered a small child, and was sent back to jail."
"I've always wondered what could have happened if we had hired him, and our children had been rambunctious and annoyed him....."
Not Where I'm Supposed To Be
"Some guy I met in county jail. GP was filled up, so they put me on the psych floor. I figured he was just there for a minor thing because he didn't seem like a bad guy. Turns out he killed two people over a drug deal gone bad. Dismembered their bodies then just left them like that in an open field to send a message."
"Why were you in the same pod as them? What crimes were you in for damn"
"Warrant for unpaid speeding tickets. Back then, county was so full, they just put you wherever there's space to fit a new body. They didn't care."
You Think You Know Someone...
"The security guard at my office building was the nicest guy. Always greeted everyone by name, always remembered little details about people, like, "Hey, how is your dog doing? Did everything check out at the vet?" And so on. Told me he was patrolling the lot, and noticed the air in my tires was getting a bit low, and to be careful."
"One morning, he came in, was telling jokes, smiling as always."
"Later that evening found out he had killed his wife and young son the night before, and came into work like nothing happened!"
Never Let Age Or Stature Indicate Capability
"Something similar happened to me. This girl I wouldn't say was scary in the sense of stature or physically scary at all, though she was pretty weird. So I worked at phone store a couple years ago and she came in with her mom, she's probably high school aged if I recall correctly, so they come in and this is the 2nd time in a week or so so I help them out again, they buy 2 phones and 2 smart watches and finance it all on their account, both happy as can be laughing and making conversation."
"I show up to work the next day and my manger is talking about something in the news, apparently [Insert girls name] had taken her best friend out into the woods and shot her in the back of the head the day before she came in and bought some stuff from me. I spent probably a good 2 hours with her. Pretty crazy stuff."
Dungeons & Dragons & Murder
"Similar - A guy I used to play D&D with ran the game from his basement. He told us one week to move our stuff from the table to a shelf if we were going to leave it there because he was going to do "spring cleaning" in the late summer. The room looked clean but what ever. He "forgot" to do it that week and had us to it the next week (2nd friday). Then the third friday when we gamed again he got a call from the cops asking if he knew anything about his ex from 10 years ago that was missing. He told us all he had nothing to do with it. That following monday he was swated, the cops searched his house and took his truck. A month later they found an odd stop on his trucks GPS. After checking that stop they found her body."
"The entire time he was acting like his normal self other then "being tired from cleaning". He is now sitting in jail. I wrote him once. He acts like nothing is wrong and that he will be out "soon" even though its been a full year. I hope he rots."
You never know who you're talking with.
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Humans can connect with everything.
Which fictional character's death made you cry?
Let's get the notable ones out of the way, the ones that hit us as kids that we've never truly gotten over.
Feeling That Real World Connection
"Sirius Black; I sobbbbbbed my first read through of Order of the Phoenix ."
"As someone who's parents are dead and who's uncle became the parent by default, I can't agree more with this. I watched his death while running on the treadmill the other day and had to stop because I was crying from all orifices"
The Song Is Called "Married Life." You're Welcome.
"Ellie from Up! "
"Gets me every time"
Gotta Watch Them Bees
"Too many to count but I remember crying my eyes out at the end of My Girl when I was like, seven or eight watching it on VHS, probably the first character death that made me cry"
"His glasses! He can't see without his glasses." Gets me EVERY time"
Just When You Think There's Only One To Deal With...
"Tara from Buffy"
"Also Joyce, I bawled my eyes out"
"I'm showing Buffy to a friend for the first time and Joyce's death basically just happened. Buffy's reaction is so heartbreaking. We watched Once More With Feeling last night so Tara's death is only a few episodes away now. I'm dreading it."
Maybe it's the nature of the death, or how we feel a character didn't deserve their untimely fate, that resonates with us the most. "They didn't deserve that!" we'll scream to no one because we're in a theater or at home, watching Netflix at 3 in the morning.
You Know There's Only Going To Be One
"Ali in squid game"
"I actually cried"
"There are other scenes that made me cry in the show, but Ali's is the only one that's literally so goddamn hard for me to watch."
I'm Tired, Boss
"John Coffey from The Green Mile."
"Ughhh. It's "Don't put me in the dark boss, I'm scared of the dark" gets me every time. That and hanks grabbing his hand."
That's Somehow Worse Than Crying?
"Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia"
"I didn't cry, but I still remember vivid dreams about trying to find her in a search party on more than one occasion."
And then there's these, characters who sacrificed everything for the ensuring safety of their friends, family, and loved ones.
Men Are Imperfect
"Borimir, he died with honor, you wanna make a man cry show him a gripping scene of a man restoring his honor and being strong in the face of great adversity at the cost of his own life. The scene with him as he dies holding aragorns hand asking forgiveness and receiving it, im tearing up rn f-ck."
"Disappointing how far I had to scroll to find this response."
"Boromir was a true representative of mankind. An extremely complex character that was good at heart, but was overcome with desperation. He didn't know what would happen with his community and acted how he thought was right."
"At the end of the day, he did the right thing when his friends were in danger."
"One of the best characters ever to be created. He causes such internal strife for me every time I watch the movies. Depending how my life is at the time, I will agree with different aspects of his actions. But at the end of the day I will always respect him and cry when he dies."
He Might Have Been Your Father...
"Since I watched it again last night, Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The Ravager funeral always gets to me, especially Kraglin's reaction to it."
"He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn't your daddy!"
"My wife had a six year old daughter when we met. She'd gone no contract with the father when my step daughter was 2 because he was unstable and had violent tendencies. My step daughter tracked him down when she was about 14 and started rebuilding their relationship. He'd gotten mental health treatment in the twelve years since my wife met him, so we were okay with this and she even went live with him for a while. That didn't last because he didn't have the patience to cope with the unique challenges of being a parent to her (she has her own mental health issues) and she came back home, saying that she was glad to have gotten to know him but that I was her real dad."
"Yeah, I ugly cried in the theater when Yondu died."
You Can Rest, Now
"Tony Stark, he was the first hero I watched in high school. By the time he died, I realized I'd known the guy through movies for over 10 years at that point. I had graduated college, grad school, and started a new job. All those memories of my friends learning how to play the iron man theme song were some of the best years."
"This one was harsh. I was not expecting it."
"And then you start thinking about his kid and Pepper who he left behind. Damn, I'm going to get choked up thinking about it."
I'm not crying.
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