It has become hard to understand my wife as she is never in the mood of getting intimate, we are generally a happy couple but in the bedroom things have deteriorated over time.
I understand that it can be frustrating reaching out for your wife and being rebuffed. However, I appreciate that instead of giving up in frustration, you have chosen to seek a solution. I have a few ideas to share with you but remember these are simply ideas; without knowing your wife, it would be difficult to give you a specific answer. However, they are intended to trigger some of your own thoughts, ideas and insights into the situation and how to handle it.
One of the first things I would want to know is her health and well-being, in and out of the bedroom. Has she been unwell? Is she on any medication? Does she enjoy sex with you? Is it possible that sex has become painful or uncomfortable for her? How about foreplay; is it present or absent? Do you take the time to warm her up to sex or jump right in without mentally and physically preparing her for sexual intercourse? Does she feel safe with you – in and out of the bedroom? How old is she e.g. is (peri) menopause a consideration? How about children? Do you have children? How old are they? These are some questions that would be worth considering.
Another consideration would be the length of time this has been going on. Has it always been like this? If so, how did you manage it before? If not, when did it start? When you think back to that time, what else was going on? By this I mean, had you or her gone through a major life event such as a wedding, birth or death of a child or significantly close loved one, a difficult pregnancy, the loss or gain of a job or any of the many events that ultimately constitute “life”.
The reason for exploring this is because your wife may have developed fear, anger, shame, stress, anxiety or other emotions that are directly or indirectly related to sex and that have continued to manifest sexually. See if you can pinpoint something that may have acted as a trigger and then you will be half way to finding a solution.
I am also curious about your relationship itself. How would you describe your relationship? Remember that sex exists within a context, and so it is important to pay attention to the health, safety and stability of that context. Vincent, if I asked your wife the same question, what do you think she would say?
It is important that you answer that question honestly to yourself first, because if this is where the problem lies then denying the reality actually works against you. Here are some things to think about: have you been stuck on an issue that has made her feel unhappy? In this context, I would also want you to consider whether there has been an area in which you have refused to take influence from her.
I’m not sure you read last week’s article but if you did, you will remember that one of the predictors of divorce or continued couple misery was a man’s inability or outright refusal to take influence from his female partner. Mind you, this is a research-based conclusion and not a feminist point of view. The point here is that it is important for a woman to feel that her thoughts, feelings, desires and opinions matter to her partner.
Once a woman begins to feel like what she wants, needs, fears or hopes for does not matter to her partner, she may – consciously or subconsciously – try to gain control of something else because no human being enjoys the feeling of being unwillingly controlled or trapped into a situation or narrative. Unfortunately, if this is the case in your marriage, then it is manifesting in the bedroom. If you suspect that this is the issue, my advice is to tune back in to your wife and begin to listen and give weight to her as your partner.
Speaking of tuning in, you know, Vincent? While it is not unusual to notice something and try to figure it out on your own, you know what else might give you surprisingly better results? Asking her. Consider asking her directly and giving her a chance to answer. Consider also making your case known without necessarily pushing for an answer right that moment because she may need some time to prepare and respond accordingly.
Whatever you decide, I hope by now you have some idea of what could be going on and/or where to begin in terms of addressing the issue. If none of these work, then please make an appointment with a qualified professional to help you both work through this. Either way, I wish you a renewed, sextastic connection with your wife because you both deserve to be happy, in and out of the bedroom.
Maggie Gitu holds an MA in Marriage & Family Therapy. She practices as a Marriage, Family & Sex Therapist. Reach her at [email protected] or via her Facebook page: Maggie Gitu