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My Partner Has Been Clean From Alcohol For 6 Years, Our Relationship Is Not Satisfying For Both Of Us

I met my partner 2 years ago. He opens up about his alcoholism in small spurts. My partner is unable to have sex with me, I have tried many different things, starting with trying to get him in the moment, first with just cuddling me. He is unable to relax his brain.

He is always wanting to save everyone (he is a disability case manager and partner in his own company). He thinks that my ideas about relationships are wrong and he is right, this is the first sober relationship he has ever had. I have been married 3 times and had relationships throughout my life. It is like we are on different planets.

Tonight he had his first really strong thought to take up the drink again and this made him feel physically sick to think that he had thought this way. My question is - if the relationship with me is causing him stress, he has enough of that with work and the new business, is he better off not having me in his life?

He has said in the past that if we broke up, he believes that he would go back on the drink, this would kill him. I am very confused as to what to do, I love him dearly, but I don't want to be a trigger for him going back to drinking. Our relationship is solid in most other areas. Answer

To think you are responsible for your partner's sobriety isn't right. And for him to imply that he won't be able to stay sober without you isn't fair either and unfortunately boils down to emotional blackmail. You are each entirely responsible for your own happiness and well-being, and taking ownership for that is how any relationship thrives.

The fact that your partner struggles with sexual intimacy indicates that there is likely to be some kind of underlying emotional issue he struggles with, or has experienced a significant trauma in the past, and so would probably need intensive therapy to resolve it.

Sex should be part of any healthy relationship because it is an expression of love. So if it is important to you, it's not something you should feel bad about. Encourage him to get help and in the meantime be creative in finding ways to still enjoy physical intimacy.

It all boils down to communication. Each being able to express your needs and feelings, but in a way that is respectful, considerate and without blame. That isn't easy and is a real skill in itself. So maybe it's important you both reflect on what it is you really want, and then decide on how you can make your relationship a vehicle for achieving that.

And if it's clear that your relationship simply isn't going to be a conduit for each of you to grow and become happier, then you need to be honest about that, and decide whether it wouldn't be better to part ways. But that's only a decision you can make.

Good Luck

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