Dear Bearded Confidant,

I think my boyfriend worries too much about cumming quickly.  I do understand that if it bothers him (as I know it does), then it is a serious problem for him.  Often he cums way before I am ready. (I am one of those desensitized ones that can usually go forever.)  He often cums and then falls right to sleep.  I know he feels anxious over the fact that he always cums and I usually do not, but I can't get him to understand that for me, sex isn't about cumming, it's about the fun and the sensations we have leading up to the cumming.  It's the result, not the purpose.

My question for you involves our relationship.  We have only been together 7 months, but I love him very much.  He, however, does not love me and has told me so.  He is in love with his ex.  Believe it or not, this does not bother me because I know that while he might not be "in love" with me, he does love me and respect me because we are still together and he always tells me the truth.  From day one we have had an open relationship (something new for me) and we both have sexual encounters with other men (both apart and together as 3somes and moresomes).  Often he tells me (usually when he's drunk and we've run into his ex) that he's going to leave me because it's not fair to me and I can do better and yadda yadda yadda.  I can't get him to understand that for whatever reason our relationship works for me.  I care for him deeply and only want what's best for him and I do believe that is me.  He keeps telling me he can't commit (I have no problem with that), but he has brought up on more than one occasion us living together and I have never once asked him for a commitment.  He's the one who has brought it up.  How can I get him to calm down and realize that I'm where I want to be no matter what the positives or negatives might be and just enjoy what we have together. Granted, there is a small age difference (I'm 29 and he's 40) and I know he has a problem with that.  But I think us together is a good thing for both of us.  (We both get the advantages of having someone around who cares about us and gives us stability, yet we can still go out and be "single" so to speak). How can I get him to leave well enough alone and just be together without all the stress?

Dear Playfully Attracted,

I feel two ways about your situation. On the one hand, I think you have a very good attitude about what you want and what you are getting out of this relationship. You are not setting up high expectations, and instead are enjoying the good things that you can share with this man. You are allowing things to develop slowly, and you are accepting and respecting your man's feelings about commitment and his ex. On the other hand, I think that you deserve to be with a man who truly loves you, appreciates all the incredible things you can bring to a relationship, and focuses all of his attention and adoration on just you. I'm not suggesting that you are wasting your time with this man, but only that you are the one making sacrifices in this situation. It is not for me to judge whether these sacrifices are worth it to you--only you can know that.

There are two potential problems I see here. First, if your man is seriously still in love with his ex, then your presence could possibly get in the way of them eventually getting back together. In other words, he could conceivably start to resent your presence as hindering his reunion with his ex. The tricky thing is that, if you only want what's best for him, then getting out of the way might be the most loving thing you could do. Second, because you want so little for yourself, your man could lose respect for you. The more you make it clear that you don't require anything in return, the less love and nurturing you are going to get. Standing up for your own need to be cared for could help your man realize just how much he has in you and how much he stands to lose. You mentioned that you would like to keep the status quo. If your man has problems with the age difference, still has feelings for his ex, and worries about how fast he cums, I am afraid that things may become more stressful before they get better.

On a positive note, you two have lasted over half a year together, and that means there's a good chance for this relationship to work out. The choice is up to you: maintain things as they are (for which I recommend not moving in together at this time) or stand up for your own needs. In maintaining things as they are, you are proving yourself as a good friend but not really establishing yourself as a life partner. Ultimately, it's probably better to be a good friend and to support this man as he resolves his feelings for his ex. If he eventually decides to take you as his true partner, that will be great. If he decides to move on without you, you'll know that you did all you could to be supportive and loving. In the end, that's what's important.