When it’s not possible to meet your partners needs... and you feel guilty and responsible... what words do you perhaps need to hear?

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Hi Everyone, My on/off girlfriend is very aware she can’t meet my needs for intimacy or spending time with me - something which I happily give space for. But it turns into essentially me waiting and trying to just be (I’m good at keeping myself busy and doing my own life). And she feels responsible and guilty, which turns into her saying she doesn’t want it anymore, and then it’s another day and she does.

I’m looking for advice on what perhaps she needs to hear from me? What words and sentiments could possibly help any of you who experience similar situations?
 
Have you thought about what YOU need to hear from HER? I'm not in your relationship, but it sounds very one-sided.

The only reason my wife has been willing to stay with me through all of my intimacy issues is because I have not just told her but SHOWED her that I'm really, truly working on my problems for the benefit of the marriage. She knows that I am aware of the issues, and I am getting better at showing empathy to what she's going through. Being a supporter is really hard work.

I'd call that the minimum of what a sufferer can do for the supporter regarding a supporter's needs in a relationship.
 
Thanks. Yes, there are things she is trying to do when she can. Its tricky for me, my main feeling is not feeling free in how I want to behave, holding back with affection and asking to spend time. So, what I need from her is something that she can only give in small amounts, and that’s ok - yeah of course it’s hard, but it’s ok.
She says she ‘can’ have sex, but that’s very different to ‘wants to’ and I’m so not willing to do that. However I’m not sure she’s ever had sex and wanted to have it in her life, and possibly always went through the motions of it.
 
I have a sexual dysfunction - both physical and psychological. I though am in a committed marital relationship. For me it was the process of dialogue and communication with mediation at times in joint therapy (when I was seeing a shrink) or elder mentors. What it really took wasn't anything he ever said... it was time, consistency, and the development of trust IN TANDEM with my own coming to terms with my sexual dysfunction and how I felt about it when I ran out of options other than something pretty extreme in a clinic way out of state that I couldn't afford.

Personally it would be the on/off aspect of the relationship that would shut me down or cause me to be less inclined to trust. But I don't know your relationships circumstances or reasons for that.

Whoops... forgot an article that has some good points about trust and relationships cuz nothing he could ever say or do for me would matter unless trust was in place:

10 Ways To Build Trust in a Relationship (+12 General Trust-Building Tips)
 
Thankyou. She is the instigator of the on/off thing. We have a polyamorous relationship. She is able to have sex with people she meets and then the excitement wears off and she stops being interested in them and moves on. Broken hearts aplenty behind her.
 
No I’m not, but yes I can accept it as part of the pattern. I hope in time she will trust me.... a bit.... Probably I’m contributing to the on/off, but I haven’t worked out how. I do have a strong belief though, that I stay stable and consistent, that perhaps she will walk forward to me. Because I try to be polyamorous it means I do have the space to give while getting my needs met elsewhere. But... oh! I love her with all my heart
 
Giving space in this manner sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t work. What I mean is that it might not all be PTSD, it doesn’t always work when you give someone all this space and they have the freedom to be constantly in/out, that one day they “see the light” and realize you were always the one for them.

I’ve had guys let me yo-yo them around. It never worked simply because it was the definition of instability. My last two boyfriends (still with one) were pretty much like you’re either with me or you’re not, I’m not going to put up with back and forth BS. In the end, it was for the best, because being IN and staying IN is a million times more stable than “I’m going to be stable but let you jerk me around”. Can you see how you might not be proving any sort of stability to her at all? (Just my view based on my own experiences.)

Were you both poly before meeting, or was it her idea, or your idea?
 
Thanks, I appreciate your reply, and yes it makes sense. I guess I’m scared to push, it might (and has) pushed her away in the past. I’ve been trying poly since a bit before we got together, she is more just confused than poly...

@EveHarrington when they let you yo-yo them... did it mean you didn’t respect them as much?

Also @EveHarrington thanks,.. I did a couple of things differently because of your advice. Particularly calling her out on her bullshit. And it helped me feel better and helped a situation turn into something better.
 
I was one such a woman who could not meet my partner’s needs and we are divorcing because of it. I told him I had issues with Sex because of past abuse but in the end he just wanted what he wanted. I don’t know why your partner is not feeling intimacy , or why she can go feel it with others.
What I learned from my experience is that people will do what they want to do - eventually and always, or stew in being passive aggressive.
There are many factors for intimacy, such as feeling respect, equal contributions, understanding with empathy (not just mentally).... Besides being traumatized I also resented my husband for using me to make money and support the family withiut trying harder to co provide. When I finally had a break down and changed professions, I was no longer necessary. He hated me even when he said he lived me. And I now see it and understand why I hated sleeping with him.
Of course, something very different could be going on with you two. There is always a reason...
 
I personally don’t really like unboundaried relationships. There is something about it that makes it harder to connect. If I can’t meet sexual needs, which actually happens for me... I’d wonder what good I do bring to the relationship. If there isn’t anything and the other is just tolerating all my crazy... that wouldn’t feel good. I wouldn’t want to be close.

But if they could identify what the relationship does for them, why they are in it, with all the very real issues at hand, I find that helpful. Settling. But it has to be real and legit. It can be just as settling for me when someone says I want to do this with you, but I need cuz to sustain it. Even if I can’t do it, there is still something safe about the clarity and the definition.
 
when they let you yo-yo them... did it mean you didn’t respect them as much?

I had to think about this one!

Ultimately, no, I didn’t respect them as much. It meant that I could do whatever I wanted and I knew they’d never leave me. Sometimes I’d leave and they’d let me come back. Other times they’d be the ones coming back to me.

But yeah.....when a guy can set boundaries with me, I respect him more because it means he respects himself enough to not put up with bad behavior.
 
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