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Jealous partner creating problem where none exists

HealthFitnessAdvice Columns and ColumnistsRuth Westheimer

Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for five years. We have two amazing boys, one age 2, and the other 4 months. I cheated on him three years ago, and ever since then he has accused me of cheating on him every time he leaves the house and every time I go to my parents' house.

I recently had to lie to him and tell him that I did cheat on him just so he would get off my back about it. I know it wasn't the right thing to do, but I felt it was the only thing to do if I wanted to stay with him. He doesn't listen to anything I say, like when I do try to apologize for "cheating" on him and try telling him that I love him.

We are still together, but he keeps flip-flopping and doesn't know what he wants. I don't know what to do, and telling him the truth would just make it 10 times worse. I don't want to break up our family. How can I reassure him that I do love him and that nothing like this will ever happen again?

A: I think you need a third party to intervene. It would be better if it were a professional counselor, but maybe a trusted older relative would do.

It's crazy that you had to lie to him about cheating. That made him feel better? He needs someone to tell him that he's overreacting, to the point where you would lie about cheating.

Your entire relationship is built on a house of cards, and it wouldn't take much, it seems to me, for it to fall apart. For example, he could start cheating on you to get revenge for you cheating, even though you didn't. For the sake of the two of you, and your two children, you need to get an arbitrator who will straighten the two of you out.

Q: I have been with my boyfriend for nine months. From the very beginning we have been deeply in love and very attracted to each other. In the beginning, we had sex three to six times per week, lots of intimacy, romantic vacations, wonderful intellectual compatibility, an active social life with mutual friends and multiple common interests.

Recently, we found out I was pregnant, and I had to undergo a surgical abortion. It has been very difficult for both of us, and since we aren't telling anyone else about it, we rely only on each other for emotional and psychological support. It has been hard. He is also dealing with stress from work, and I'm dealing with the stress of passing my board exams. Since discovering the pregnancy two weeks ago, my boyfriend has refused to have sex with me.

I understand his feelings, but I am scared that without any sex at all, the health of the relationship is even more doomed. Now that I've had my procedure, I medically cannot engage in sex but can engage in foreplay stimulation. I have tried to initiate this, but am rejected. He is still quite loving and tries to be as supportive as he can, given the situation. The lack of his interest in sex breaks my heart, and makes me feel very unattractive. I question whether the health of our beautiful relationship will ever return.

A: First of all, two weeks is a very short amount of time. This was not an easy situation to deal with, and if he needs some space right now, I would say you should give it to him. Hopefully he will come around on his own.

And making sure that this will never happen again also is psychologically very important. I don't know what method of birth control you were using, but in the future, you two are going to have to be a lot more careful. Convincing him that you are committed to that would be important.

So just allow some more time to pass, and don't take his turning you down as having anything to do with your looks, but rather as his current way of dealing with what just happened.

Q: I have been married for almost 29 years. My husband's biggest problem is that he wants to have too much sex. Is that normal? I feel pressured sometimes, but I still try to please him.

A: "Too much" is a subjective term. Obviously what you find to be too much, he finds to be just right. If you've been pleasing him for 29 years, I would tell you to continue. It shows that your relationship is in good shape, and he's physically fit, and since you don't want either of those conditions to change, don't start denying him what you have provided all these years. It doesn't mean you need to have an orgasm every time, though I hope you do have orgasms regularly. If not, that could be part of why you think you're having sex too much.

Sex for Dummies" (IDG Books) is among Dr. Ruth Westheimer's most popular books. Write to her at

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HealthFitnessAdvice Columns and ColumnistsRuth Westheimer