Q&A: lies and lack of sex have doomed our relationship

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By psychologist Angie Willcocks

A: I’m really sorry to hear that you and your partner are struggling again. It’s great to hear that your partner did make an effort for the relationship by quitting his FIFO job and I’m sorry this didn’t end up working out. It’s a really positive sign that he was willing to give up the work in order to work on the relationship.

There are a lot of different reasons why men don’t get erections or ejaculate with sexual intercourse. Drug use is one of the reasons, but not the only one. Sometimes a man who has experienced a few ‘failed’ attempts at sex ends up backing away from it altogether because it’s just too confusing and upsetting. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are ‘getting it elsewhere’, so to speak, or seeing hookers.

My advice is for your partner to get a medical check-up to rule out any medical cause for what’s going on for him. Sometimes men feel more comfortable talking with a GP about sexual dysfunction than a psychologist, so this would be a good start. Plus, a medical cause might be found and this can then be treated.

Male sexual dysfunction is rarely, if ever, to do with what their partner looks like. You being plump probably has nothing whatsoever to do with it, but you worrying about how you look will contribute to your distress and upset about what is going on. I know it’s hard, but try to put that thought out of your head. Work on being happy with who you are, and hopefully your partner will like this. If he doesn’t, then perhaps he’s not the man for you anymore!

Obviously lying to a counsellor is going to make relationship counselling pretty impossible. Having said that, it’s also possible that your partner didn’t like, or connect with that particular counsellor. Perhaps try another person?

On a final note, I’m not sure what to make of you saying that you’d walk away if you could, "but cannot". Does this means that you are feeling too emotionally tied to your partner to end the relationship? Or does your comment indicate a level of abuse in the relationship that means you are afraid to leave? If it’s the first of these, that is very normal. If it’s the second, then I advise you to call Lifeline or talk to your GP about what is going on for you sooner rather than later. Or contact me again and I will help you with this.

Either way, I also advise you to get some counselling on your own to support you. Individual counselling would be a good second best to relationship counselling in your case. This doesn’t at all mean that you take the blame, and the responsibility for fixing things. It just means you getting some support, a place to get things off your chest and perhaps make some more sense of what is going on for you and your partner.

Take care,


To read other columns written by Angie Willcocks during her six years with Mining Family Matters, please click here. And remember that we offer a free email Q&A service with our psychologists, so just click here to ask a question about relationships, parenting or your career. All advice on Mining Family Matters is for general information only and should never be regarded as a substitute for professional health services or crisis services. To talk with a trained volunteer telephone counsellor at any time of the day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. To contact the info line at beyondblue: national depression initiative, phone 1300 22 4636.

Angie Willcocks is a registered psychologist with a private practice in Adelaide – for details about Skype consultations please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She’s an expert in tackling issues such as depression, anxiety, postnatal depression, child sleep routines and relationship difficulties. She has a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Psychology and a Masters of Counselling Psychology. She is also the co-author of The Sensible Sleep Solution: a guide to sleep in your baby’s first year, which can be ordered from her website www.angiewillcocks.com.