Whether you are the one avoiding sex or not, here are 5 tips for jumpstarting this difficult but not impossible situation.
By Lisa Abrams
When you are in a sexless marriage, it can feel like the void consumes you. You may feel helpless, with no obvious solution in sight. Depending on your situation, simply addressing the matter with your partner can invoke a prickly response. How can you broach the subject and rekindle the romance?
Whether you are the one avoiding sex or it is your partner, here are 5 tips for jumpstarting this difficult, but not impossible situation.
1. Reconnect on a physical level first—not a sexual level.
Physical touch is one of the 5 Love Languages in Gary Chapman’s famous relationship books, and it is an important one. Many couples spend an inordinate amount of time without ANY physical contact. Trying to get back into this and both feeling comfortable touching each other in a non-sexual way is an important first step.
I recommend getting this back on track, then the sexual feelings will follow later. Be sure not to make it about sex—it’s all about reconnecting through physical touch. Try taking off your partner’s work shoes or rubbing their shoulders while they talk about their day. Physical touch can help bridge distance gaps between two people. Greet your partner with eye contact and physical touch when they first walk in the door—there is science behind this.
2. Don’t let kids dominate your lives.
Remember you are more than an awesome parent, you’re an amazing, sexy person as well. Remind yourself and your partner of that. Yes, parenting is a vitally important part of who you are, but there is even more to you. You are an intriguing, adventurous and exciting person. Turn off the TV and face each other, look each other in the eye and talk.
I have to admit that when I was unhappily married, we would go weeks without even making eye contact. Reawaken this and I think you’re getting on the right track. Don’t be afraid to be sexy and act that way. I think sometimes women are afraid their partner will think they are not a good mother if they appear sexual to their mate. To the contrary, men love it.
3. Don’t wait for your spouse to fix the problem.
Be the hero and take charge of bringing solutions to the table. They possibly want to fix it as much or more as you do, but are scared of bringing up the subject and making matters worse. Approach it head on and let the other person know you really want this to change. Be open to really listening and do not come to the negotiating table with a closed mind or with a preconceived idea of what is supposed to happen.
4. Be friends again.
I’d bet that when you dated you were best friends. Let them into your life, let your guard down and give it a try. I always say you can’t win a hand in cards if you don’t bet. Same is true in relationships. You can’t win the relationship lottery without being vulnerable and taking emotional risks. Be a soft place to fall (one of my favorite Dr. Phil’isms). We all love and need acceptance and it can help dissolve walls. Show your partner that they can be themselves when they are with you- they don’t have to be superman or perfect.
5. Try improving your self-esteem.
Sometimes we can project negatively on to another person when we are feeling bad about our own selves. What do you have to lose? Work on yourself a bit. Recharge yourself mentally by pursuing a hobby you’ve been interested in, reading a book or exercising. Take a breather and look inside yourself to find a hidden talent. Feeling good about yourself can make you see the world around you in a whole new light.
6. Be open to trying new things.
If it’s just sex that needs spicing up, shop together online for a new toy. I fully realize that often these problems run deeper, but if they don’t and it’s just a physical difference causing the problem, Google the problem together. I will admit that when I was married I hated sex. I later discovered that I really wanted a dominant man, not a bedroom submissive like my husband. Try new things-start the conversation and truly open up about it in a safe environment where there are no right or wrong answers.