What to Do When You No Longer Want to Have Sex with Your Husband

shutterstock_260900729He’s a great guy. You love him. You know he has needs. And you want to show him how much you care. But the thought of sex is gross. You don’t know how to get aroused anymore. So you avoid sex. You may even come to hate it. Sex is usually hot and frequent in the beginning of a marriage. But for most couples as time wears on, a sudden transition appears where it disappears, or just tapers off. Many times, when this occurs couples have to find new ways to spice things up in the bedroom. If not, one or another partner can feel resentment. Both partners may also worry that this spells the beginning of the end for their marriage. The first thing to do is to look and see if there is any physical health reason why you have lost the desire for sex. A hormone imbalance can be one reason. This can have something to do with menopause, a new medication, a thyroid problem, and so much more. Get checked out by a doctor. If this is not the case, consider an emotional reason. Have you been severely stressed lately? Do you suffer from anxiety or depression? Take steps to alleviate these and your libido may return.

Next, think about whether or not your relationship has been having any particular issues. Sometimes a woman can have resentment building up from a number of problems in her marriage, or one large issue. While men can compartmentalize sex, a woman’s concern over her relationship will snuff out her desire until the matter is resolved. That is not to say that she cannot feel desire. But when relationship problems are weighing heavy on her mind, she has a hard time getting into the mood. If none of these appear to be the case, think about whether you have had any negative situations surrounding sex. A negative impression or experience in the past can manifest itself in your marriage today. When we first get together, love and chemistry are so strong that they blot out all other emotions. But when we get used to the relationship or even the marriage, those strong feelings wane, and the previous impression or experience may bubble up to the surface. Working with a mental health professional or sex therapist may be best. The tendency when this problem first arises is to push your husband away. It is hard to explain a lack of desire without feeling as though you will sound like you are blaming, or that you want the relationship to be over. Fight that urge. Pushing him away will only hurt the relationship.

If you want this marriage to succeed, you must tell him. But practice what you say so that he understands. For many women, when this problem strikes they begin to think that their husband may look elsewhere to have his needs met. A woman has to be relaxed in order to get in the mood. Feeling threatened will undermine that effort. Let him know that it isn’t him. It’s just that there is something wrong and you’ve lost your desire. Now it’s time to make a choice. Losing your sex drive can be horrible. And no one is saying you should have sex when you don’t want to. Each person should decide for themselves when it is or isn’t right. But you will have to decide whether or not you can invest the time and energy to finding it again. What would rekindle your desire? Start talking about sex, turn ons and turn offs, and desires with your husband. Write them down. Keep a journal where you don’t sensor yourself, but write down these secret, inner thoughts. Find healthy ways to manage your stress. It can sidetrack you. Any interest in porn? Try watching some together. When you find that it is time to reconnect physically, use sensuality first as an entree way. Women take a lot longer to get turned on, and sensuality is a great gateway into getting in the mood. It may feel untenable at first. But just like any other problem, if you begin to look into it, you should find what is causing it, learn more about yourself, and then figure out how to reconnect to your sex drive and with your husband.

For more such advice read, Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido by Andrew Goldstein and Marianne Brandon.

 

Reasons to Celebrate Singlehood after Divorce

shutterstock_104926916Those who have the distinct displeasure know all too well, a divorce is gut wrenchingly painful. But for those who can come to terms with their grief and pain and heal, there are a lot of advantages to be found on the other side. It doesn’t look like it at first. Many people, even in the aftermath of a hellish divorce years ago, still sit alone decrying their fate. In fact, a newly minted singlehood can be the best thing that ever happened to you. In years past, marriage was a financial arrangement and a social institution. Today, no one has to be locked into it. Everyone has the chance to find their own happiness. But we take our freedom for granted. We continue to bemoan our fate. Nowadays, we have dating apps and websites, along with traditional ways to meet people. We can take care of ourselves, and choose the right person for us, instead of just taking whoever happens to come along. The divorced sometimes wrestle with feeling like damaged goods. But it’s not true. In fact, once the pain is gone, you will probably be better at relationships now than you ever were before. Unfortunately, single people are maligned in our society. It is as if there is something wrong with them. But in fact, a lot of amazing people choose to be single, or at least for certain periods. They know that only the right person is worth getting serious with. Here are some other reasons you should celebrate your new singlehood.

Ever need someone to watch the kids? Now you have an automatic, go-to babysitter. Granted it’s not ideal. But it is not a bad deal either, especially if you are trying to get your love life humming again. But don’t be the type of parent always pushing the kids off on your ex. Be sure to use your power wisely. Remember walking around and seeing what a mess your partner left? Now, if you are the neat and tidy type, I bet the place is all squared away. And look at how much space you have, and all that closet space. Even if you moved to a new place, it’s good to admit that there’s nobody else’s junk clogging up the place. That’s a huge plus, and a reason to go shopping. Stretch out on the bed. You don’t have to huddle in a corner anymore. Use as many covers as you want. No snoring is great, isn’t it? Was there an annoying habit your ex had like leaving the toilet seat up or forgetting to put the cap back on the toothpaste? You won’t have to deal with it, ever again. Was there a certain habit or hobby that your ex didn’t like? If so, now is the time to embrace it. When it comes to watching something on TV or ordering take out, you can watch or get whatever you want, without having to argue or negotiate with anyone. It won’t matter what episodes you’re ex has or hasn’t seen, they won’t be there, and this should make you smile.

For those who have been through a controlling relationship, know that you won’t have to explain yourself anymore. You don’t have to call, or check in. You can be treated like an adult and do your own thing, without feeling an overbearing force looming over you. For those who felt as though they were a parent to their ex-spouse, now you are free of this child, or the additional one. You can live in the world of adults again. Just make sure that the next time you are going through the selection process to date someone who is mature. The best part about being newly single is you don’t have to answer to anyone. You can do whatever you wish, when you want, how you want, and with who you want. Instead of looking back on what you have lost, look at all you have gained. There aren’t many times in life where you get a second chance or a blank slate. Take advantage of it, make plans, outline all the steps, and get to work on building the life you always dreamed of. Now no one is standing in your way anymore.

For more on advice for life on the other side of divorce read, Your Post-Divorce Compass Practical, Real-World Advice for the Newly Single by Michael R. Dunham.

Fighting can be Good for Your Relationship

shutterstock_341429870There are those couples who seem to never fight. But rest assured, they do, just behind closed doors. Two people are whole worlds encapsulated in flesh. But when they come together in a relationship, as things progress, particularly if they begin living together, sooner or later conflicts arise. If they never do, then this is not a healthy relationship. For instance, take the couple where one person consistently capitulates to keep the other happy. The capitulator either has near non-existent self-esteem or their partner is a narcissist or a tyrant who has to constantly be placated in order to keep the peace. In a partnership with two are equal, each person’s ideas are valid. And so their differences have to be discussed, debated, and yes even fought over, for things to progress. Just like there is no such thing as a story without a conflict, there is no progress without disagreement. Otherwise, your relationship will remain stuck in time. It’ll become dull, ossify, and fossilize. After all, what is more of a turn on than our partner with that fiery look in their eye, passionately advocating for what they believe in?

When a person hides their feelings from the other, they get sublimated. But they are still there. Resentment builds up and sooner or later they will blow up. Or the person will slowly choke on their true self year after year until it sinks them into a quiet desperation and despair, for never having their point of view brought to the fore or their emotions recognized. There can be no intimacy if one does not trust one’s partner with one’s true opinion. That doesn’t mean one should support hashing things out in a damaging or hurtful manner. But each person should be heard and have their say. In a relationship of equals, both partners need to make their case, and then if no one’s is stronger, a negotiation worked out. The best kind are the ones where both people get what they want. But sometimes you have to dig to find out what that really is. You can easily make the case that we never really know our partner until we’ve seen all sides of them. Conflict and competition bring out the best in us. Just don’t be too competitive or play unfairly, or you may win the battle and lose your relationship.

Psychologists agree that a certain level of conflict is normal and healthy. The thing to concentrate on is how you fight. Do you scream at each other, break things, and slam doors? Or do you separate when things get heated? This is the best way. Give each other some space and time to cool down, and come back refreshed and ready to communicate. We really cannot dig into the deeper stuff hidden in our partner, or ourselves until we come across some kind of conflict. But not all are important. A large portion of arguments come from misunderstandings. But these too can be blessings in disguise. For when we begin to unravel how our partner understands things, we get a glimpse of how they see the world. We come to know them better. And when they listen calmly and patiently to how we understand things, they get a better notion of our worldview. So that understanding and closeness await any couple who can safely and positively negotiate a problem or even a crisis. But despair, decay, and even disintegration awaits any relationship that cannot successfully overcome obstacles. The moral of the story, become masters at communicating and overcoming conflict, and you will form a close, loving, and more blissful union.

Want to learn the best conflict resolution techniques? Pick a copy of, Everyday Relationships Resolving Conflicts in Your Personal and Work Life by Sheila Alson and M.A. Gayle Burnett

Infidelity is No Longer the Biggest Reason for Divorce

shutterstock_149077067We are used to hear all the time about marriages being torn apart by infidelity. Our imagination swirls with stories where a jilted lover dragged their spouse into court ready to strip them of every penny, and screaming from the rooftops to shatter their good name. That is no longer the case. According to a leading group of family lawyers in the UK, today most couples are splitting up due to a lack of love in their marriage. Long-term partners are falling out of love, and unable to recoup it, so they decide to go their separate ways. On the other side of the ledger, the number of pre-nuptial agreements has also risen dramatically, according to this same group. Moreover, lots of couples are staving off divorce for when their financial situation improves. Salaries have stagnated on both sides of the pond, while the cost of living has gone up. This survey which polled 100 such lawyers from across the UK also found that these lawyers themselves believe about one-third of husbands hide assets when fearing divorce. In most of these cases the husband was the higher earner, and had more wealth to conceal.

So which situation would you rather be in, your spouse cheated on you or has fallen out of love with you? It is a sadistic choice, to be sure. How can you tell if love is exiting your marriage? There are lots of signs. You show less affection to one another. You pay less attention when the other person is not there, or even when they are, and vice-versa. The lunchtime phone calls and random texts taper off. There is little nurturing in this kind of relationship. Blame, passive-aggression, nagging, and angry fights take its place. Your priorities change and so do theirs, and the marriage is not necessarily the first on the list. If you have no energy to deal with one another, or don’t want to bother going out of your way for each other, chances are love has bid you farewell. Here, conflicts don’t get resolved. They get swept under the rug. Each person tries to control more and more things or situations. Passion drops off and you become completely disconnected from one another. If one person is a narcissist, now is the time when it surfaces full force. You feel as though you diminish yourself, or go along a fog. You lose who you really are, blurred by this overbearing relationship.

Lots of couples chug along for years this way. But being in that kind of marriage eats away at you, until you can’t even recognize yourself anymore. Is there a way back? The first step is to find out how you feel and where your feelings come from. Own those feelings and use them to fuel inner healing. Practice self-compassion. Forgive your spouse for the transgressions and pain they have caused you, not for their sake but for yours. No one should abandon themselves to a loveless relationship. Instead, in a loveless relationship it is the responsibility of both people to look for places where they can reconnect. Talk for a long time and really come to understand one another. After you have done this, see if this relationship can be resurrected. If it cannot, the tendency is to feel shame or point fingers. Instead, find some closure. Remember the good times. Reminisce and come to understand how things changed. But don’t be afraid to move on. If it is time to reinvest in this relationship, communicate long and often. Find the energy to tackle problems, or even consider couples counseling. Infidelity may not be the biggest reason for splitting up, but falling out of love is no less painful. All each person has to do is to decide if the relationship is right for them, and if they have the energy to invest in it.

For those in a loveless relationship in the here and now try reading, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope by Leslie Vernick.

Give a Divorced Guy a Chance

shutterstock_294128408The rules of dating and courtship in our culture have changed tremendously in a short period of time, making it harder to make romantic decisions. Though we at times deride the feeling of free falling into love, only to find ourselves ejecting from it once again, in the end we aren’t meant to fit in a box, human life is longer now, and we must find who fits us whether it be long-term or only for that period in time. Still, even though we are oh-so-modern, some residual effects of the old ways still inhabit our thinking. For instance, divorce used to be taboo. Today, a lot of women still carry a stigma against men who have been married before. The idea is that he is damaged goods. Well, aren’t we all? These women think that whatever broke up his marriage may infect their relationship, should one begin. The truth is people split up for lots of different reasons. Different people interact differently together. Their problems might not be yours. The reason their marriage broke up may have no bearing on a future relationship with you. Who knows? His ex-wife might have nothing but good things to say about him. And yet, for one reason or another they did not work out. Rather than staying away from divorced men, you should perhaps lean toward dating one. Why do you ask? Here are some reasons you should give a divorced guy a chance.

Tired of men who are afraid to commit? A divorced guy isn’t. Or at least he wasn’t. This is not the eternal bachelor who keeps his lady helplessly hoping for commitment which deep in his heart he knows will never come. Past behavior is a great indicator of future choices for most people. So with this guy, you know that if the situation is right, he will be ready to take things to the next level. With a divorced man, he has already put time into a serious relationship. He knows the drill. Some guys have been bachelors for so long, either by choice or circumstance, that they have a hard time transitioning from “me” to “we.” They don’t check with you about things you should have input on, and they may make decisions without considering how they will affect you. But a man who was once married can transition more easily from prioritizing himself to his relationship. Divorced guys are a bit more mature. You have to be to be married and to go through a divorce, one of the most painful experiences a person can have. He has to have gained at least some knowledge and insight from the experience.

A divorced man has some idea what it takes for a long-term relationship to work. If he is self-reflective, he may have even noticed his short-comings and own up to past mistakes, helping him avoid making them a second time around. In any relationship that did not last, both parties have had an influence. Chances are, his ex has already pointed out his faults to him, and he is aware of them and better able to manage them. If he is willing to give a long-term relationship a shot again, it shows if he is positive, resilient, and has hope. Lots of men go through a divorce proclaiming that they will never get married again. But if he is not talking marriage down, and is still open to it, it shows a lot of underlying, positive qualities. Even that he is back in the dating scene again is a positive sign. Consider learning more about him first. Is he still balancing duties from his first marriage, such as parenting? Has he recovered from the divorce completely? What led to the marriage’s breakdown? Personal information and insights into who he is will give you a better idea of whether or not to get involved with him. But don’t count him out just because he is divorced. In fact, the whole affair may have a silver lining, a better, future relationship with you.

For more dating advice that may just lead to marriage read, Single Is The New Black: Don’t Wear White ‘Til It’s Right by Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell.