Wife's Lost That Loving Feeling
Q: My wife and I have been married for eight years and have been together for eleven. The last two years have been pretty hard, with her telling me that sometimes she doesn't feel like she wants to be married. She says that as far as sex goes, she doesn't require what I need. Which it turns out means she never wants it. Everything else up to being intimate is okay. What do you think is wrong and do you think there is someone else? -- Mark, 34
Dr. Susan: What's wrong is that you've been together more than a decade and the excitement has worn off, at least for her. While it's possible that she has found someone else, that's not necessarily the case. Unless you have other clues, I wouldn't jump to that conclusion by the fact that she avoids intercourse. Ask her what's up! Why does "being married" turn her off? It's supposed to be a great way to share the pleasures and burdens of life with someone who knows and understands you as you really are. If marriage itself feels like a burden to her, do something to change that.
Although she may have a low libido and not "require" sex as often as you do, or even never requires it, that doesn't mean the two of you can't enjoy a sex life. Try to figure out, with her help, what would make her more amenable to intimacy. Possibilities to consider: more and different foreplay, new ways of spending time together that put her into a happy state of mind and might get her in a warm and loving mood toward you and your desires, a good lubricant in case she's finding intimacy physically uncomfortable.
Some couples have even found ways to trade off favors. She allows herself to join you in intimacy and you offer her something she likes. Not a new dishwasher, but perhaps more help with the chores? It sounds awful and as though it goes against the spirit of a loving relationship, but whatever gets her started is okay in the context of your own bedroom (or kitchen for that matter!).
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.