Sex ad­vice

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - SOCIETY -

My hus­band and I have been mar­ried for com­ing up to 17 years. We have an amaz­ing bed­room re­la­tion­ship but, out­side of the bed­room, there is barely a friend­ship any more. We both work and lately I have found that I pre­fer be­ing at work than at home. I have tried talk­ing about it with my hus­band but the con­ver­sa­tion ended in an ar­gu­ment so I haven’t at­tempted to bring it up again.

I have also no­ticed that I have started to avoid him – I think that it was un­con­scious at first, but now not so much. We have chil­dren to­gether so I would rather not break up my fam­ily, but I feel re­ally lonely when I’m with him.

Can our re­la­tion­ship be saved or is it time to start look­ing for some­one who is more than just a lover and maybe a friend too?

While it’s more com­mon to hear about those who still care but have lost sex­ual de­sire, you two are not alone in your re­v­erse sit­u­a­tion. Whether this re­la­tion­ship can be res­ur­rected de­pends on what you are both will­ing to put into it at this point. It will re­quire both of you iden­ti­fy­ing and own­ing your own part in what has gone wrong.

I don’t be­lieve it is help­ful to stay to­gether for the chil­dren when you are mod­el­ling dis­con­nec­tion and per­haps dis­re­spect rather than a lov­ing in­ter­ac­tion with each other. There is also clear ev­i­dence that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween par­ents plays a key role in the trans­mis­sion of par­ent­ing pat­terns and in at­tach­ment se­cu­rity across the gen­er­a­tions, so this hor­ri­ble strain must be sorted or ended.

Is it that some­thing has gone wrong or have the non-sex­ual parts of in­ti­macy al­ways been miss­ing? For some in­di­vid­u­als, sus­tain­ing lust, love and emo­tional nur­tur­ing in the same re­la­tion­ship stirs pow­er­ful in­ter­nal con­flict. What did your par­ents model for each of you about the day-to-day work of stay­ing in love? I can give you 101 ways to deepen non-sex­ual in­ti­macy, but first you have to iden­tify and dis­man­tle the bar­ri­ers you’ve built be­tween each other – pre­sum­ably con­structed of re­sent­ment or dis­ap­point­ment. Given your dif­fi­cul­ties in talk­ing, find a good couples coun­sel­lor – or a friend who can me­di­ate – and give it all you’ve got: there’s a lot to lose.

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