I'm not sure if I'm looking for commiseration or advice here, so both are welcome. Also, I'll apologize in advance for the length. This is stuff that has been building for a while and I just needed to get it out.
A little backstory on us that I feel is relevant. I have a skewed review of relationships. Every one I've been in in 10 years of dating has been long distance of at least 6 hours. I have no idea how a in close proximity" relationship is supposed to work in practice, I only am operating on theory here. Also, 3 years ago ManBerry went through a divorce that started amicable but turned bitter, so he has some residual issues from that. In addition, both of us were single and living on our own for 2 years before we started dating.
ManBerry and I have been together for 9 months now. A recurring problem has been lack of sex drive on his part, mostly due to stress. But, that is hard on me, because I have a high sex drive in normal circumstances. Add in the fact I'm ridiculously attracted to him and still have all these new relationship feelings and I'm having a hard time dealing with it. I know sex once every week or two isn't uncommon in a relationship, and that in fact some people would kill for that frequency. It is made harder when when past sex stuff comes up and I know he used to have a much higher sex drive and it was much more adventurous. It leads me to being convinced that something is wrong with me....the spiral is usually convincing myself he doesn't think I'm attractive, and then that comes up somehow, he reassures me he is attracted to me, a couple days later we have sex but it is pretty standard vanilla sex (which isn't what other of us are really into), so I convince myself it is just token sex he has with me because he wants to make me happy but he isn't really into it, which just further convinces me he isn't attracted to me and the spiral continues downward. It doesn't help that he isn't the kind of guy to give "just because" compliments. The other night we had a date night, and at the end of the night I teasingly told him "You should tell your girlfriend she looks pretty." His response was pretty smooth, "I always think you are gorgeous, I didn't realize tonight was different." I have no doubt he thinks that, but I have no idea how to ask for it without sounding needy and high maintenance.
The second problem is with our introverted personalities and time being single/alone, we both need our space. The problem is, our space needs are very different. I would like to see him 4 to 5 days a week, and I think he would prefer 3 to 4. Logically I can understand this, his job has him dealing with people all day and sometimes he needs a break. Earlier today he cancelled our plans to hang out tonight to go work at the station (he's the assistant chief for the local volunteer fire department). He told me that "I don't want to be made to feel guilty about doing stuff at the station. I plan to be Chief someday, but to do that, I need to put the time in." But, it's also stuff he could do tomorrow, or next week when I'm gone. If he had told me he needed some "me time", I would be more understanding, but I don't like being brushed off and made to feel guilty over something that can wait. I could deal with the less time with him, but I feel like even when I'm hanging out with him lately, he's not really there. For the last couple of weeks, he's had a hard time sleeping, so he's been really tired and that has resulted to him being really quiet and distant when I'm hanging out with him. For example, on the aforementioned date night, we drove to a nearby town for dinner and a movie. For the entire hour drive there (I'm from Wyoming, an hour away is nearby), during dinner, and the entire drive back he hardly talked to me. Whenever I'm over there lately, he is more focused on the tv than he is on me. This isn't normal, but it has become normal over the past couple weeks. Like in the previous paragraph I have a hard time saying "Hey, stop paying attention to the tv and pay attention to me" without feeling like I'm being needy (note he has never called me needy, it's all in my head), especially because he is visibly so exhausted. Whenever I'm with him, I'm "present", so I think he notices it less because he gets attention, he doesn't have to beg for it.
ManBerry is often telling me to just relax and enjoy what we have. And I do enjoy being with him. He makes me laugh like nobody else can and he thinks I'm hilarious in return, he's intelligent, really attractive to me, respects me as a human being, we have similar views on almost everything we discuss, and when we are having good sex it is very good indeed.
I can list all the reasons/excuses why these things are happening. The low sex drive is due to stress and possibly age (he's 38), the lack of spending time together is due to being introverted/used to being alone/residual emotional issues from the divorce. But, I think at the end of the day, the truth is I'm more into him than he's into me and I should probably just end, I deserve somebody that wants to be with me as much as I want to be with him. But, I'm not ready to do that right now because I do love him and I know he loves me, he just has a much harder time showing it and I "need" more than he does. And, the problems right now aren't an all the time thing, they've just been going on a while. And, I really do think things will get better when summer gets here. But, right now at this low point, it is really hard to remember that.