I I'm recovering from a suicide attempt. My partner has been a great supporter, but I am concerned about intimacy and our sex life. I'm afraid he'll think I'm still too sick, or that he has me desexualized. since she saw me in the hospital and is treating me in a caring way, not romantically. He struggles to know how to act around me. How can we return to a functional sex life and a sense of normalcy?
Your partner is showing natural concern and desire to protect you. Allow him to be considerate and try to show gratitude. A complete return to see each other as romantic partners will take time. It is common for a person experiencing the near loss of a partner to withdraw psychologically a little, to guard against the pain of a possible future loss. It would be wise to fully disclose the feelings and logic that led to his attempt. You have your own healing journey ahead of you, so try not to wait too soon – either of you. Your perception of your recovery is important.
Until he is convinced that you are healed, stable and getting the help you need, your partner will continue to walk on eggs around you, and sex will be the last thing on your mind.
• In the United Kingdom, Samaritans can be contacted in the United Kingdom and Ireland at 116 123. In Australia, the Lifeline crisis support service is at 13 11 14. In the US, the suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
• Pamela Stephenson Connolly is an American psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of sexual disorders.
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