I have been with a man for a year now who has told me that he’s lost interest in sex through the years and didn’t even have strong urges even when in his 20s. He’s 43 now. He has no desire to hug, touch, or kiss me, much less get more intimate. I need intimacy and am planning to leave him if there’s no chance that he will ever have the desire to hold me. He told me that he’s always drank, even as a teen and was in rehab at 18 and says that he chooses to drink and likes his beer. He is a great guy, but I really have no interest at this point in my life to make al-anon a part of my life. I’ve only known him a year so it’s not like he’s been in my life forever, but I choose to not make this my life. Intimacy is a human need and I need it. I’m also 43 and have never been around an alcoholic so I’m very naïve in the subject. Can an alcoholic ever gain the desire to want to touch his girlfriend? I do apologize if my question is out of line. I am just beginning my research.
Emotional and sexual intimacy is indeed a basic human need. You are justified in desiring a committed partner with whom you can enjoy that type of intimacy. Your boyfriend’s intimacy issues could be related to alcohol abuse, a sexual disorder, other psychological issues, or some combination of these. It doesn’t appear that he is able to make a commitment to another person in a romantic relationship context. Also, it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to commit to sobriety either.
I cannot answer as to whether or not he will ever have the desire to touch you. However, as long as he chooses to abuse alcohol and refuses to get help for his psychological, emotional, or physiological problems, he will not be able to meet your needs in a romantic relationship. Therefore, it would be best for you to seek a relationship that is fulfilling for you rather than try to change someone who isn’t interested in changing.
As you said, there’s always the option of staying with him and joining Al-Anon, but I’m not sure that’s necessary when you aren’t married and have no reason to stay in the relationship. You are free to pursue someone else. Supporting a recovering alcoholic is hard work and supporting an alcoholic uninterested in recovery is even harder. Take an honest assessment about what you are looking for and what you need. Then, do what makes sense for your situation. I applaud you for taking the time to research the proper information and develop a sensible course of action.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.