Q&A: My Marriage Lacks Passion

Dear Dr. Betty,

I've been married to an awesome, supportive, intelligent, kind and beautiful woman for five years. Recently I found out that our marriage was never recorded and we're not legally married. Therefore, I've done some relationship evaluation and feel our marriage lacks passion. I'm a sexual being who needs this passion in my life. Our sex life is very ordinary and even when I try to loosen her up she gets insulted. I don't want to go for counseling; I believe that she won't change and I want out of this relationship. My stomach is in knots and I can't sleep from the unbearable stress of my decision to leave. Can you help? -- M.

Dear M.,

You're sexually out of sync. The chemical cocktail that spurs the thrill we feel at first starts to wear off after five to seven years and these natural dips occur in most marriages and long-term relationships. Another dip often occurs when the kids leave in our 40s and again in our early 60s when retirement is looming on the horizon.

It feels so good to be turned on and for some this feeling becomes an addiction. You sound like you need this emotion at all costs. Don't get me wrong, passionate living and loving are wonderful, but there's more to a relationship than sex and passion.

You've invested five years with someone you call an awesome woman. But now it seems that you have given up, you feel your wife can't change and you want to end the relationship without seeking counseling.

Is your goal to find greener pastures? Why this rush to judgment and action? Wisdom, research and experience cautions that you'll probably never find peace and contentment in the future unless you work through your present situation.You are plagued by guilt. This isn't necessary if you include, not exclude, your wife in working through your present dilemma.Being grown-up and mature in our relationships isn't easy. We often fool ourselves into believing that disappearing will do the trick -- but that's not true!Face the music and arrange for a real heart to heart by taking these steps: 1. Let your wife know that you want to have a very important talk with her.2. Agree on a time to meet when your energies are high and there aren't distractions. For many that's usually in the morning.3. Tell her what you love about her and what you need more of. Ask her to do the same with you.4. Show that you're interested in her feelings by listening and looking at her when she speaks. Don't interrupt her but respond openly when she asks you questions.5. Take turns asking questions and be willing to explore ways to help the situation. Ask your wife, "What can I do to help you feel loved?" and "What can I do to help you feel more comfortable sexually?"
You may be surprised to hear that it's just the little things that turn her on. Maybe it's asking about her day at dinnertime. Maybe it's flowers, going out to her favorite restaurant or going on a surprise date. Take small actions to lead toward your ultimate goal. Slow and easy does it. For ideas on creating more pizzazz in your relationship, read 50 Ways to Please Your Lover While You Please Yourself, by Lonnie Barbach. After you put each of your requests into action, take stock. Have things improved? If yes, continue what you have been doing. If no, then consider marital counseling as a next step. It is a wise move to exhaust all possibilities. No matter what the outcome, you will know that you have done as much as possible to try and make a go of your relationship. This will diminish your feelings of guilt and contribute to your ability to have good relationships in the future.
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Source: Relationships & Love

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