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Do you know about “I statements?”

You’d be surprised how many women have difficulty figuring out why their partner doesn’t want to be intimate with them. 

Here’s one email I received from Maria, who wanted to know why her current man didn’t have the desire a previous partner once had for her.

Check out her email and my response below. 

“Hi, Susan, 

I’ve always been satisfied with my sex life and openness to new ideas.

I had a relationship with a man who would always adore me, give me pleasure, and was happy to be in bed with me for ten years.

I wanted to live together, but he didn’t want to leave the big city of Amsterdam. And as I prefer nature and the countryside, we couldn’t find a solution and broke up. 

But here I am, 49 years old, with a new boyfriend for three years, living together for three months, and stuck with no sex life. 

I just don’t get it and am desperate for wise advice. I’d be very grateful for your comments.

Are men only interested in women when they can chase, when there’s plenty of time apart from each other, not living together? 

Or am I attracting men who are afraid of committing themselves, fearful of real intimacy? Should I quit and look for a man on the same level: someone longing for a steamy, intimate, long-term relationship living under the same roof? Or is this just a silly unrealistic wish?” — Maria (not her real name)


Maria, every man is different. You should explain to your boyfriend about your unhappiness.

Sit down with him at home after a meal when his tummy is full, and there are no distractions. Put your hand on him. Look into his eyes. Fill your heart with compassion. 

Then describe how you feel. Use “I statements,” not “You statements,” such as:

I feel…

My experience…

The effect on me…

My desire is…

I wish we could have a relationship where I experienced…

Don’t expect or ask him to respond. Just request that he listen. Tell him you want him to have a lot of space to come back to you with his thoughts, experiences, and desires. 

If he is a man of few words, and he’d be better at writing his thoughts down, allow him to do that. Some people, especially men, have difficulty channeling their feelings into language.

When you talk to him, speak slowly. Try not to flood him with your emotions. Be completely honest. Don’t hold anything back. Don’t make excuses. Don’t invent rationalizations. Just speak with vulnerability about how you are experiencing your intimate life with him.

Describe what you wish it was like, compared to how it is now.

Thank him for listening. Hug him and kiss him.

Then get up and go for a walk. Ask him if he’d like to go with you. Ask him to hold your hand while you walk.

Couple Walking Dog


This will clear both of your minds and allow a little space for him to digest what you’ve said.

Assume the best of him. Assume he loves you. Don’t try to figure out what he is thinking. You will most likely be incorrect. 

If he hasn’t addressed your issues in one week, bring up your situation again. Ask him if he is going to respond. He could be struggling to figure out what to say or do. At that time, inquire whether he might be open to seeing a couple’s therapist. It might take more than your skill to draw out of him the issues.  But I doubt it. I think this slow, steady plan will yield good conversations.

Please let me know how it goes.

And as for YOU, dear reader, if you’re stuck wondering why your partner isn’t as sweet, caring, attentive, and present as they used to be… 

One of the simplest things you can do is start a conversation using the technique mentioned above. It should get the ball rolling nicely.

That way, you can open up a safe space to talk to each other and set things back on the right path. 

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