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April 13, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I've been pondering this for a while. I've been dating someone for a long time who is my best friend, my favorite person, a good and attentive lover, and a wonderful soulmate for me. I really really love him and he has added so much to my life. I think we are going to get engaged soon.

My concern is that our sex life, although good, has never been particularly easy or anxiety-free. We both have a lot of "issues" and mine have definitely seemed more exaggerated since being with him. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes it's not so fine -- but we always get through it (the hard times) and talk and take breaks when we need to. It has just never been particularly relaxed. Otherwise, he's the one for me. I worry, though, that this issue is too important to ignore before marrying him. I went to therapy about this for a while, but didn't think it was helping me more than just talking to him about it. Any thoughts?

-- Sash

Dear Sash,

Show me someone whose sex life is anxiety free, and I'll show you ... Dr. Ruth. Um, Sash? No one's sex life is anxiety-free. No matter how nuts/comfortable we are about/with our bedfellow(s), sex is still the thing that makes us wonder things like, "Does darkness make me look fat?" I mean, you do say he's "a good and attentive lover" -- I just want to make extra-sure, now that you're facing the possibility of marriage, that you're just not rooting around for an out.

Then again, if you say there's a problem, Breakup Girl believes you. And by the same token as above, if this guy really could be The One -- as in <gulp> The One person with whom you do The Deed for the rest of your life -- of course your "issues" are going to be "exaggerrated."

But as far as Breakup Girl is concerned, here's the real problem:

What is the problem?!

You tell me your sex life is "not easy" nor "anxiety-free." You say you have "issues." You tell me you "talk."

About what?! What are the issues?

Breakup Girl needs the 411, hon! If you cannot spell things out to Breakup Girl, who, as far as you know, is a cartoon character who doesn't know you from, well, a cartoon character, then something's in the way.

As much as one's sex life is a microcosm of one's relationship, one's letter is a microcosm of one's problem. And if you are as specific and rigorous in these "talks" (and in therapy) as you are in your letter, then no wonder nothing's changing. I can just hear the conversation:

YOU: "I think the problem in our sex life is lack of communication."
HIM: "Yeah, it all comes down to communication."
YOU: "So true. I'm glad we talked."

So yes, you're right. This "issue" -- whatever it is!-- is " too important to ignore before marrying him." I'd say you should talk to a therapist -- together. But you are not allowed to use the word "issue."

Breakup Girl



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