Ask Kari: On Dating and Intimacy

By February 8, 2021Connections
Ask Kari Issaquah Highlands

Dear Kari,
My partner wants us to continue living together, but not get married. I want to get married and have a family. How can we come to an agreement?

– Wanting More

Dear Wanting More,
First, take time to personally reflect on what exactly you want in the relationship (e.g. to be monogamous, to be married, to have children). Second, pick good timing and invite your partner to talk with you about your relationship. Share your hopes and desires with them while being open to their response. If your partner tells you they do not want the same long-term goals for the relationship, believe them. I have counseled many couples who had red flags arise early in their relationship and chose to ignore them, finding later that those same issues make it challenging for the relationship to be successful long term. Good luck, and remember, communicating with your partner at a deeper level regarding who you are and what you want in life is a good thing in a relationship.

– Kari

Dear Kari,
I started dating someone new and I’m trying to navigate when we should first be intimate with each other. What timing do you recommend?

– Dating and Confused

Dear Dating and Confused,
This a hard question to answer without knowing more details about you and your partner. That said, I would consider your ages, your personal histories, the amount of dating experience you both have, your health status, and your comfort level with sex and intimacy. Sex and intimacy should happen when both parties are able to clearly express their desire for each other and talk about what they hope for in the relationship. If you cannot connect and communicate with the person you are dating, then wait to be intimate, as intimacy will not make a poor relationship or poor connection better.

– Kari

Dear Kari, 
My wife is not interested in sex anymore. We have three children and I feel we are good parents and have a nice family, but I want more. I want us to be romantic partners and lovers. How can I get my wife to understand this is a normal desire?

– Missing Private Time

Dear Missing Private Time,
I understand your feelings and it sounds like you have shared them with your wife on some level. I would do that again in more detail and with a deeper explanation of your true desire to have an adult connection with your wife that involves physical contact and sexual intimacy. If there is still a communication and agreement gap between you, then I recommend you seek couples counseling support to help examine the disconnect at a deeper level.

– Kari

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW is a clinical social worker, owner of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group, and an Issaquah Highlands resident.

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