“Ethan” and “Victoria,” once high school sweethearts, re-found each other in their thirties, after Ethan’s a contentious divorce.

Now, after fifteen years of marriage they are flirting with the idea oft ending their own marriage.

It was Ethan who called the question. “We NEVER have sex anymore. “

He hardly talks to me, Victoria said, “Who wants to have sex with someone who is emotionally unavailable?”

Ethan says, “ How can I be emotionally available to someone who discounts my sexual needs.”

Can this marriage be saved?

I think they’ve got a good chance… because:

 1. they have agreed to come for therapy.

2. they have two kids, a busy social life and close family ties.

3. they are both smart… and open to what psychologists call “COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING.”

 Consider that:

  1. Asking for professional help is an act of optimism. Ethan insists he loves his wife… he just wants more sex, he says.
  2. The benefits of hanging together are clear for both Ethan and Victoria. They are surrounded by people who care about them and they are dedicated to the best interests of their children.
  3. Cognitive restructuring(CR) is a therapeutic process of learning to identify and dispute irrational thoughts known as cognitive distortions.

ESTHER PEREL, author of the wonderful book, MATING IN CAPTIVITYreminds us that female sexual desire is a drive that needs ongoing engagement and needs to be stoked intensely, continually and imaginatively.

                                THINK ABOUT THIS

It’s not that women have a weaker sex drive.

PEREL says , “men rely too much and all too often on sex as the language through which they have license to ask for love, tenderness, surrender, sensuality, affection and more.”

If you want to be happier and sexier, men and women both need to rethink their own responsibility for any decline in their marital intimacy.

                   MORE UN-FAKE NEWS:

No one… no one… ever wants to change any more than they have to, to accomplish any goal.

Ethan, just because you are in the mood for sex, doesn’t mean Victoria is ready too. In a long marriage, she is even more likely to need some romancing.

Try not to be annoyed by this idea. You came to me, asking for help, after all.

Remember some of the romantic cues you relied on at the beginning of your relationship.

Designated date nights… and days… can go a long way. So will loving texts, vacations without kids, spontaneous non-sexual hugs, a wink across the room and watching a romantic movie together.

And conversation… women need to commune with words.

Now that life has gotten more complicated, sharing a new experience, learning a new skill and being around other happy couples who exude energy, can help to revitalize your sexual connection.

Victoria, if you mean that you want your marriage to flourish again, then you also have to take some of the responsibility for action.

Something, someone has to give. Your husband hasn’t left you. Quite the contrary. He is asking for things to improve. It was his idea to come for therapy.

Catch him doing something right, for starters. Notice. Then reward his efforts.

Surely you remember the tension, the sexual tension… the wonderful anticipation when you were first dating.

I hope you also remember that with this trade-off… trading “up” to committed love, has a way of killing off passion.  If you think there should be no more need to pay attention to this part of your life, you are so wrong.

Love is worthy of attention. Sex and intimacy can help you triumph over inevitable challenges which face us all.

Turns out it’s kind of titillating… motivating… to consider ESTHER PEREL’S words:

We don’t “have” our partner. We’re all on lease, with an option to renew.

What do you think?


Thanks For Visiting,

Email Dr. Linda

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

AvatarPatrice LevyJuly 29, 2018 at 4:45 am

Wow Linda,
This was great. This is the issue that ultimately ended my 36 year marriage. My ex had undergone 6 failed back surgeries and was substance dependent on pain meds (my son-in-law says he was a f——g addict). Totally changed his personality. He was grumpy, nasty and frankly verbally abusive. And could not understand how I couldn’t easily have sex with him when he behaved so ugly to me. He just saw it as I was “frigid, not fulfilling my wifely duties, etc…..” It got bad. He ultimately asked for the separation and we did divorce. Sad because he was my high school sweetheart, he is the father of my children and and was truly the love of my life. In total we were together 40 years; half a lifetime. But at the time it was miserable. Our friends couldn’t stand how he treated me and others. I tried to sweep his behavior under the rug for years. And so we moved on…. The kicker is he seems to have gotten off the pain meds, is with someone else, and goes to the gym every day! For 30 years I tried to get him to go to the gym. It hurts sometimes, but I know our timing was off. When we went for marital therapy, the therapist was blunt and said to him, “You already have one foot out the door.” After we separated, I went back to the therapist for feedback and he said, “I saw a couple who came in with a problem that you were ready, willing and able to work on, but he was not interested anymore.” So it is what it is. I have had several relationships since (none of which have been lasting), and know that there is nothing wrong with me sexually! I will find that right person I am quite sue.
Thanks for this column,
“Tricey” Rosenberg from Bay Terrace

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