How loneliness kills marriages

Newlyweds or couples starting out spend lots of time doing things together, talking about each other’s ideas and opinions, discussing their plans for the future and so on. And forever making out of course!

But inevitably, all that excitement starts to fade sooner or later. And perhaps one of them starts to neglect the other. Their emotional intimacy falls as they spend less and less time talking together. And so their physical intimacy also starts to drop.

So lots of spouses end up feeling ‘lonely’ in their relationship. They’re bored too, and long for the excitement they felt back in the beginning. But what really does the damage is that they no longer feel their partner cares about them. And if that continues, then the relationship will eventually fail.

If you have children, it could even be worse. Children are a lot of work! They’re demanding and tiring. Add a growing career and your wider family responsibilities, and it’s easy to understand how a couple can start to neglect one another. So, make sure the kids do their share of the chores, get to bed on time, and spend lots of time with Grandma. So you two can get up to lots of mischief together…

Signs of boredom setting in a relationship?

There are many, but a key one is that bedtime’s no longer the most exciting moment in the day! You hardly ever talk about anything other than the children, and whose turn it is to take the trash out. You find yourself spending more time at work or with your friends rather than with your spouse. And there are many topics you can’t talk about anymore, you no longer remember anniversaries, and have forgotten what size clothes your partner wears, or what are their favourite foods.

If your partner hints at boredom…

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Take them very seriously. Loneliness ends more marriages than all the other problems put together. Look at the amount of time you’re spending alone together, and what you talk about. Think about your sex life. Resolve any underlying issues. And if any of that’s difficult, see a counsellor together.

Besides that, do fun stuff together. Go out on dates, travel together without the children. Date each other all over again and go out of your way to do the things they really truly enjoy.

When you have been with one partner for a very long time, things can get a little stale. So what do the experts recommend when it comes to adding some spark in the bedroom?

 1. Ditch the pet names

Usually, the habits that you bring into your early days relationship could lead to problems years down the line.

“Using pet names – such as honey, hun, love or sweetie – instead of calling each other by your actual names. This is the first step down a steady descend to a bland sexual relationship,” says Julienne Davisin, co-author of Stop Calling Him Honey... and Start Having Sex. “When you’re both calling each other “love”, a small part of your identity is being eroded. You are taking away each other’s individuality, their female/maleness and, most importantly, their differences to you.” She explains that the power of words is astonishing. “You can’t force sexual attraction and desire, but if you change how you address each other, your brain will do the rest. Cutesy terms of endearment desexualise your relationship. But using his/her name signals your intention to shift the dynamic between you from cuddly mates to two sexual beings.”

2. Variety

Doing it the same way for 10 years is bound to get a little boring. According to a study done by a team of researchers from Chapman University, a little variety never hurt. “A quickie, a long session, some lingerie, different positions, massages, even showering together…All this are different ways you can add some spice and adventure to the bedroom,” says lead researcher David Frederick.

3. Hugs

Hugging your partner increases the ‘love’ hormones, particularly in the woman.

“It makes her feel closer to you, and she feels loved. It plays a huge role in intimacy,” says sex therapist Paula Hall, in her book Improving your Relationship for Dummies.

4. Go on dates

After a while, it is easy to lose sight of your partner as anything more than the mother or father of your child.

John Gottman, a researcher in marriage and parenting, advises couples to spend at least two hours every week doing something outside their roles as parents.

“Go for a wander around a museum or walk in a park, stopping off for a coffee. Make a pact not to talk about children or upcoming diary dates. Instead, focus on how you’ve felt in the past week: what’s been good, what’s been stressful, what’s made you laugh, what you’re day-dreaming about, what your hopes and aims are.” This is a sure way to bring back the sexual spark.

5. Foreplay

Sex can get robotic, especially in long-term relationships. It is easy to forget the little things your partner likes. “Foreplay is even more important as we age as our sexual response cycle slows down. To get the same physical responsiveness as you did in the early days requires more simulation,” says sexologist Christopher Ryan in the book Sex at Dawn.

6. Separate interests

Remember the adage ‘Familiarity breeds contempt?’ While It is OK to have similar interests, that shouldn’t be all there is to you. You do not have to have similar hobbies, shared social media accounts or common friends.,

“Having a life outside your shared world gives you something to talk about when you are together. It makes you a more interesting partner. And a little mystery is sexy,” advises psychotherapist Chris Hart.

7. Kiss more

Long term couples tend to forget just how intimate and stimulating a kiss can be. The nerves on the neck, collarbone and shoulders give higher feelings of pleasure than people know.

Make out like you used to do, and watch the sexual spark light up.

“Kissing releases brain chemicals such as oxytocin, responsible for making people feel bonded to their partner. While oxytocin is released in both men and women, research indicates that women are more sensitive to this chemical and thus more inclined to like doing the behaviours that make them feel pleasure and connectedness,” reads an excerpt from Dr Gabrielle Morrissey’s book Hot Secrets For Great Sex.

8. Switch off devices

Phones are ruining your sex life. Believe it. If the last thing you do before nodding off is scrolling through your phone, you could be a victim. Research proves it. A study by Oxford University on 24000 married couples showed a direct inverse link between use of social media sites and marital satisfaction. Establish a ‘no phone’ rule in the bedroom if you must, but reclaim your intimate space where you focus on each other instead of the world beyond.

9. Exercise

They say that when you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you feel attractive, and sexy. And when you feel sexy, sparks will fly in the bedroom. Besides that, exercise increases testosterone, a hormone that boosts sex drive. So get to lifting weights and revive a flagging libido.

10. More sex begets more

Don’t feel like having sex and want to get your drive back? Well, have more sex. Sex is very much like exercise, the more you do it, the more your body adapts and pretty soon begins craving it. Sex hormones are necessary for a healthy libido and having sex increases those hormones. So get busy.

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