For the last few months my doubts and insecurities over my relationship have been increasing. I’m not sure what steps to take next. Correction: I do know what needs to be done next (she and I need to sit down and TALK), but I am hesitating and procrastinating. I wanted to get some objective thoughts and advice on the following. I figured the other members on here would be good for this - since I can’t really get objectivity from anybody in my “real” life. Let me lay out what all is/has been going on - we’ll go from there... First there was the long-running (and still somewhat prevalent) issue of sex being more like a chore or test rather than being an enjoyable experience. It wasn’t until quite recently that the proverbial lightbulb finally mutually went on and things started working out. In spite of this, the mentality going into sexual situations is still more like troops preparing for battle rather than two people revving up for a fun time. The Lady and I have sex, we both “get ours” from it, but it’s strictly been physical - there (for me at least) is little mental or emotional satisfaction. If anything after “successful” sex (translation: we both reach climax), then I feel more like a student who just got ace marks on a test rather than a man who has satisfied his partner's wants/needs. Second there is the time factor. Plain and simple: We don’t have it. Between my erratic schedule and her erratic schedule the time we spend with one another is very limited. What time we do have is usually even further limited because one or both of us is too exhausted to do anything other than fall asleep. This is going to get strained even further in just a few short months - I am starting school again and will be in class 5 out of 7 evenings a week for several hours before having to go into work. What time I will have will need to be dedicated to rest and recuperation. Third is what I think of as the Loyalty Debacle. I question how much of our relationship’s longevity and both of our commitments to it boils down to a misguided sense of loyalty and commitment. It was brought up in the Casual Sex thread on here about falling for whoever shows the slightest interest in you. I feel that is pretty applicable to my current situation. I feel a lot more strongly about being and staying committed and loyal to The Lady largely due to the fact that she is My First (took my virginity, first “serious” relationship, etc). I worry that she has been sticking around with me because of these same factors; that she feels a responsibility and duty to stay with this relationship because of the fact that she was My First. Fourth is the point that I am rather ashamed of. It is the fact that I am wanting more and more to be free to openly and uninhibitedly explore my sexual identity. I grew up with a very skewed and limited perspective on sex/sexuality; it has only been within the last couple of years that any sort of true learning and experience have taken place. That fact, as well as now knowing a small part of my sexual self, have increased my desire to get myself out there and see what there is. The Lady has been very accommodating and understanding with this when it has stayed as online “play” and meaningless/”typical male” looking around. However if I took any real actions I know that understandably it would NOT go over well. That doesn’t remove the desire/temptation/whatever-you-want-to-call-it for me, though. When I step back and look at it as objectively as I can, I don’t feel that either of us is all too happy or fulfilled by our relationship. It feels like such a farce at times! While I do care greatly for her, as time passes it feels less and less like a romantic/intimate care and more and more a platonic one. I do not like to think that we are both martyring ourselves and allowing ourselves to be trapped in something simply because we feel it is our obligation; that it is The Right Thing To Do. Again, I’d like to get some thoughts and advice on this! Thanks, all! If it seems like I've got a problem a day you wouldn't be far from right. Lots of stuff coming to a head (no pun intended), so lots of thoughts/questions/etc from me.