Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
How To Keep The Fire Burning Between You!
Is He Cheating On You?
This is the first time I have ever approached this question with another person besides my partner. We have been together forsix years and he is HIV- positive and I am HIV-negative. As time has passed his sexual drive keeps going down. He has tried everything and he says he just doesn't feel anything. Do you know of any further steps to maybe help put a little spark back into the fire?
Regards, Always Looking To Keep The Fire
Dear Always Looking To Keep The Fire,
Thank you for the trust you are placing in me. It shines forth in your question how committed you are to keeping the passion alive between you and your partner. Romance in a relationship normally ebbs and flows over time. Lust for a partner naturally decreases over the life of a relationship and as each person ages.
However, there is cutting-edge scientific research by anthropologist, Helen Fisher, that shows that the best way to reignite romance with your partner and keep it burning is through novelty. The key is to keep doing new things together and having new experiences with each other. This increases a pleasure chemical in our brain called dopamine which plays a huge role in the good feelings of romantic love and drives up lusty testosterone levels. So get the creative juices flowing and surprise your partner with spontaneous, caring, fun things to do and keep your romance red hot!
Yet there is more chemistry to review. Decreases in testosterone from HIV and uncomfortable side effects of HIV medicines can put the brakes on lust and take anyones mind off of sex. Who would be in the mood if they were feeling drained, nauseous, cranky and suffering from rashes, pains, diarrhea or a bad headache? Be supportive of your partners need to say when he is not in the mood for sex. He may be having valid physical reasons.Aphysician's advicecan help.
A large part of his loss in sex drive can be psychological too. Feeling down and nervous can be normal responses to the heavy pressures of living with HIV, including concerns about not wanting to infect you. His not feeling anything might be a sign of depression. You can suggest lovingly to your partner that he be evaluated for depression by a psychiatrist. Anti-depressant treatment is available. Couples therapy could also be a wonderful way to try something new for you guys. Therapy is an educational tool for personal growth. It doesn't mean there's anything crazy about either of you or that your relationship is bad.
Continue to talk to your partner directly about things. Move toward him. Find out more what his inner world is like.Get your needs met, butremain open to the part your needs may be playing in this as well. Together you will find a solution that works best for your relationship.All The Best, Angelo.
I have been in relationships before where my partner cheated on me. I have been with my current partner for a little over two years now and things are going well. I don't think he has been cheating. Though he has not given me any reason to believe it, I still have an almost compulsive fear that he is not being faithful. What can I do?
I am sorry you were betrayed in the past. It is understandable that you would be cautious in your next relationship. After all, you don't want to be cheated on again. It hurts deeply and takes time to heal. At the same time, you can realize that you're with a new man now. From what you write, there are no signs that he is cheating. But you're still paranoid he's cheating. This is a false expectation.
You seem to be holding on to the conclusion of what you believe is there, rather than seeing what's really there. This blocks you from deeply connecting with your present boyfriend. Maybe that's more desirable, because you were so hurt in the past. Unconsciously, creating some distance between you and your boyfriend keeps you safer. That way, your unconscious may believe he can't hurt you like the other guy did. Butdo you really want a suspicious mindas the backdrop of your relationship? Loving inherently involves some degree of risk because we have to trust to love. The only other option is to wall ourselves off from others.
Your boyfriend can only control that he is trustworthy. Whether or not you trust him is up to you. Deciding to trust someone involves balancing your life experience with their character, reputation and track record with you. Yet in the end, all trusting has a degree of unknown risk. It requires faith in the person you are trusting. This is particularly true for fidelity. That may be why it's referred to as being faithful. Ultimately, trust is a precious and beautiful gift of faith that we give another person. It is the foundation of any relationship. Without it, a partner is likely to feel suffocated. When you are ready, my wish for you is that you can choose to give that gift of freedom again, giving your current partner a chance to heal you.
All The Best, Angelo.
The Gay Man's Therapist
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