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Confused by a Complicated Relationship

So I’ve been dating this woman Julia for about 6 months, in a committed relationship - and on several levels it has been wonderful. She’s sweet, thoughtful, super intelligent, and beautiful. Has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve met. Fun as hell to spend time with. I'm comfortable, relaxed, and un-self-conscious when we are together. We’ve agreed that we want to be in each other’s lives long term - we’ve even spoken of marriage. I’m crazy about her. In fact she is the first person in my life who has made me want to think of someone else and invest in someone else.

That’s the good news.

The problem is that alongside all of those positives, Julia is also emotionally aloof and socially distant. For reasons that I still do not fully understand, she’s also a bit of a loner. Complicated. Occasionally withdrawn, inexpressive. Suffers from depression and anxiety. Heavily medicated for both. Also sexually frigid. Despite all of the assets, there are occasions when I feel more like an activity partner than a boyfriend. She has told me “I love you,” but it doesn’t happen nearly as often as i would like. We’ve made love but it is a challenge - I physically touch her and she acts traumatized, like a sexual abuse victim, even though she insists that nothing of the sort ever happened to her. She said that in general, in life, it is much easier for her to think “me” than “us” - with any boyfriend. She feels safer around animals such as her dogs than she does around people, who let her down, disappoint her. Her exes were manipulative jerks who set her up, sexually used her, broke her heart and then dumped her. So her trust is at an all-time low.

At times I just miss Julia terribly, I wish she were more present in my life, that we could be more emotionally intimate. I don't need or want to be smothered, but a little additional affection and affirmation would be wonderful.

I'm very close to my parents. Although they like Julia immensely and would even welcome her as a daughter-in-law, they are also concerned that my own needs aren’t being fully met. But I’m also totally in love with her. I tried to address the problems with Julia today - she readily agreed to work on everything and took responsibility for her own contributions (apologized for being aloof and cold) and was shockingly frank and perceptive about where she is at psychologically and emotionally - her self-awareness is razor-sharp. But she was also transparently irritated and exhausted by the conversation and the thought of hashing out issues. Today I asked her to go to relationship counseling as a couple - she said the thought frightens her.

I feel like we’re on eggshells now. We texted tonight but it was distant.

I don’t know what to do in this case, I really don’t. It’s tough to be in the middle of it. I can’t think objectively about Julia. Part of me wants to eventually marry her, but before I do obviously these issues need to be ironed out.

Thoughts? Is this a no-hoper? Or should I focus on the positives and try to work out the problems with her, together, as a joint effort? i can be patient and understanding, to a point, but obviously have myself to think about, too.

-Harry
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