Dear Fortune Cookie, I am embarking on a lifetime relationship with a wonderful partner. They are almost everything I could ask for, save for a minor taste difference in entertainment and a somewhat mismatched libido. What’s the gentle route to discuss the fact I’m far more easily aroused and to seek out solutions together?
Don’t decoy, avoid, or make void the topic. – Salt-N-Pepa
22-27-34-35-59 / 13
Hello Diner. Before we talk about your partner, let me ask what you’re willing to tolerate. I see that you understand people have their own tastes and traits, and however in love people are, they are bound to have some differences they have to reconcile if they plan to spend a lifetime together–just the little quirk of probability, which we plan to talk more about in a future Fortune.
If the question was posed to you but in reverse–if your partner came to you about reducing the amount of sex–what would you give up and what would be your suggestions for solutions? Keep in mind, this would be a permanent change. Unless you find a new partner, you wouldn’t be able to go back on that agreement. Well you can–it just wouldn’t be very considerate nor respectful, and the disagreement would just return.
If you really can’t see yourself living a lifetime’s worth of frustration, and you hope to coax your partner into adapting your appetite, you really should reconsider that lifetime you were planning to spend with them.
It’s not so much people that can’t adapt just to please their partner–they can, and they have. There are probably a few times you’ve done that yourself, and it’s very likely you didn’t feel great about it. And that’s my point: imagine a lifetime’s worth of that feeling. Doing something just to please someone else would cultivate a lot of frustration and resentment–even if that person is in love. Even if the object of their love is, in fact, wonderful you.
Are we saying that unless you’re happy with every life choice you make in your relationship, you shouldn’t be together? Of course not. Like the venerated sages said: it’s a bit more complicated. Two things save you from having to live this impossible life of perfection–being honest with each other and mutual compromise. If you two truly understand and respect your boundaries and keep the “gives” and “takes” in balance, you’ll have the greatest chance at a lifetime of happiness.
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Now that we have that unexpectedly deep, introspective journey out of the way, we can talk about how to discuss things with your partner. Let’s say you’ve already determined you’re willing to compromise and that this issue isn’t worth breaking up over in the long run.
You’ve decided that it’s definitely not about them, and you’re ready to move onto the next step of talking to them.
As with any mismatch a couple can have, you’d have to consider your partner’s perspective and work with their sensitivities and communication style. By asking for a “gentle route,” it sounds like you believe frank talk would hurt your partner. As their partner, you would have the history to understand what exactly they are sensitive about.
If you don’t, step one would be of course to figure THAT out.
But really–considering you’re thinking about starting a whole life with this person, you should have that level of understanding before you two talk in lifelong terms, right Diner?
You can assure your partner that the issues has nothing to do with the things they are insecure about. Not feeling like they’re wrong or that the relationship may end will help keep them from being upset or defensive.
Because I don’t know your situation fully, I can’t guarantee the conversation will go smoothly, but by following this Fortune and simply being empathetic, you would have given it your best shot. Remember: it won’t–nor has to be–perfect. Good luck, Diner.