Is Your Marriage A Disappointment? Do you have a sex-starved-marriage?
Many of the couples I work with tell me their relationship has gone cold in the romantic area. I ask them, "How long has it been since you've had sex?" The answers are often shocking: "I don't remember," or "A year and a half," or "Five or six months," etc.
When I discover that a couple does not have an active or satisfying sex life, I know there are underlying problems in the relationship. And I know to identify and address those problems, or the sex life isn't going to get much better.
In fact, a couple's sex life is often a barometer for the relationship. A good relationship results in healthy sexual activity, whereas a bad one leads to problems in the bedroom, such as avoidance of sex.
Below you'll find some of the biggest reasons a couple's sex life may go south in intimate relationships, and they can end up with a sex-starved marriage.
Here are a few of the most common problems that impair sexual relations -- problems I often see with couples in therapy.
1. The spouses have drifted apart and are no longer well connected
2. Poor communication and low levels of trust
3. Excessive anger or hostility
4. An unresolved previous affair or a secret affair taking place in the present
5. Resentment pertaining to the past or present
6. "Negative sentiment override" (A John Gottman term, where the couple views their relationship pessimistically, and every molehill is turned into a mountain of negativity)
7. One spouse no longer feels good about himself/herself and in turn does not feel sexy or attractive
8. An addiction(s), such as, alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex (often a porn addiction causes one partner to pull away from the other)
9. One spouse has a strong sex drive and the other a weak one, and they end up avoiding it because it's difficult and disappointing
10. Overwork and stress
There are many other issues that ill-affect a couples romantic life, such as the failure to listen, finger-pointing and blaming, or a physical or emotional illness that gets in the way. Depression and anxiety can interfere with one's love life in a significant way.
Now, let's take a look at what a sexually frustrated couple can do to help resolve their sex-starved-marriage.
First, counseling and therapy may help a couple identify issues, discuss and move beyond them. It makes it easier to talk with an objective third party in the room. Another possibility, if your problems are not too serious, is to get coaching from a professional relationship coach.
But there are many steps a couple can take to solve their problems, and to deal with a sex-starved-marriage. The most important step may be sitting down to talk about their sex life. Each spouse would reveal their feelings and their hopes for change. Then the spouses can begin to dialogue in a non-judgmental way about barriers that may stopping them. No blaming and no criticizing allowed. Just heart-to-heart talking and listening, where the spouses work toward a greater understanding -- a blame-free, dynamic understanding.
Basically, it's important to find the underlying problem(s), address it and take steps to solve it. If there has been an affair, which was never fully disclosed, discussed and healed, there will be trouble in the bedroom, perhaps for years to come.
If there is a lack of trust in the relationship, the sex life will be a struggle, resulting in a sex-starved marriage. If one partner feels as if she/he has been taken advantage of, they are going to cross their arms and go into self-protection mode, losing interest in sex.
Almost always a poor sex life sits upon a crumbling foundation of unsolved relationship problems. In other words, the friendship is no longer close or enjoyable, and one or both spouses may have given up on the marriage.
The good news is, a sex-starved marriage can be repaired, trust rebuilt and the barriers to good communication resolved.
How to Fix Your sex-Starved Marriage
To improve the friendship, spending more time together may be necessary, and finding time to have fun. Also, solving a few problems may be in order. For example, If a partner holds a resentment that causes anger and fear, the resentment needs to be aired and understood.
2. Or, if the couple can't deal with conflict effectively, new rules for handling conflict need to be put in place, and spouses need to learn how to make it easier to talk and decide a course of action, instead of sweeping the conflict under the rug or getting mad about the wrong things. A goal must be set to stop avoiding issues that result in conflict. Both will have to practice emotional control and bring up problems in a gentle way, not a harsh one.
When the couple can discuss issues without getting angry or upset, it's easier to get passion flowing again, and to rebuild a sex-starved-marriage.
Once hurtful things are said, it's hard to take them back. Better not to say them in the first place.
3. Affairs and addictions can certainly rob a relationship of its joy and knock it off the track. A porn addiction can create distance between the spouses, and may exist for years in a cloud of secrecy. It can be difficult for a real spouse to compete with a porn star, especially when the spouse doesn't seem interested in romance any longer.
More and more women are becoming addicted to porn, so it's no longer just a man's problem. Some of the couples I've worked with have turned to porn to light a fire under their luke-warm love life, but that may have unwanted long-term repercussions when the couple develops a dependency upon the pornographic material or it leads to an addiction.
Most people require professional treatment to overcome addiction. Take it seriously, get help and act sooner than later. A relationship will not thrive when tethered to the addictive behaviors of one or both spouses.
Learn to Compromise
When you can't resolve differences, try compromising. Compromise is a skill that sets strong relationships apart. Remember, solutions that a couple comes up with must work for BOTH spouses, not just the dominant spouse, or the loudest one or the most narcissistic one.
Your relationship can win only when both spouses win. So arriving at solutions that work equally well for both spouses is of critical importance. Relationsihps where one spouse does all the winning and the other spouse suffers are unhappy and short-lived.
When you and your spouse can resolve differences in a way that does not erode trust, the result will be an improvement in the romance department. Sex-starved marriages flourish where there is anger and resentment and the spouses are avoiding each other.
Expectations for your sex life may need to be discussed, too. Differences in expectation often result in a sex-starved-marriage. Try to arrive at realistic expectations, upon which you both can agree. If, for example, one spouse is happy with the sex life, but the other isn't, it's time to talk, tell each other what you want and figure out how you can get there -- working together.
A healthy sex life is vital for a happy marriage. Sex creates a powerful way to bond with your mate, and to keep your relationship strong. The single best way to improve your romantic life is to begin discussing it in an open and honest way, and to rebuild your friendship. For, friendship fuels the flames of desire and passion.
And, remember, any issues involving trust are essential to clear up and overcome. Rebuilding trust takes time, hard work and patience. Trust problems often result in a sex-starved marriage. Try these techniques and watch your sex-starved-marriage become a happy marriage, once again.
Good luck, and write to me if you have any questions or comments. Thank you for visiting happy-relationships.com.
To avoid ruining your sex life without trying, check out this article.
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