Dear Carolyn: Although we’ve had sex before, my boyfriend of two years has zero interest in sex with me or anyone else. He just doesn’t feel the need (we used to have sex often, before the relationship was committed).

This makes me feel unwanted, unloved, and incredibly self-conscious and paranoid.

He’s been to therapy (I am also in therapy), but his psychiatrist flat-out told him she didn’t know how to help him (!), so he stopped going.

He turns down every other suggestion I make to try to overcome this issue, and talking about it leads to his anxiety and my tears. Yet, he says he loves me and he would spend the rest of his life with me if I could be happy. I need affection and I want children.

The choice I have in front of me is this: Spend the rest of my life with the love of my life, but childless and sexless, or spend the rest of my life without the love of my life, which feels like dying (even though I know it isn’t).

– Sad Rock or Sad Hard Place

A: The sexless, childless marriage will give you pain for his or your lifetime, or the rest of the marriage – whichever ends first.

The breakup with “the love of my life” will give you pain until you find less frustrating sources of love and companionship. I suspect your recovery speed will be in direct proportion to your willingness to let go of the idea that he (and the attendant rejection, paranoia and tears) is truly right for you.

Appreciate what you have

Dear Carolyn: I’m getting ready to graduate college, finally. I took the nontraditional route due to parental meddling. I find that I’m likely not graduating cum laude, something I was really looking forward to.

I know it’s just a title, and means nothing in the real world. But I can’t help but feel I let myself down. I’ll graduate with two degrees and a diploma from my school’s honors program, but it doesn’t feel like enough. This was the time to prove myself, and I don’t know if I did.

– Dealing With Disappointment

A: I could argue this is the time to prove yourself, as you start a phase of your life without the tidy, black-and-white goal of academic honors to guide you. While college coursework is rarely easy, slaying the “parental meddling” dragon was at least straightforward: Get a college degree.

Done. Well done, actually – congratulations.

Now, with that behind you, I suppose you could look again to your childhood to find another dragon to slay, but that’ll just put you in this very spot a few years down the road.

Instead, I suggest you elevate your sights to finding, living and appreciating the life that suits you best – not just one that proves a point.