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A friend of mine (who will remain anonymous on this blog) wrote to me explaining the difficulties he’s having with his marriage. With his permission, I asked if he would rewrite his informal e-mail into a context oriented formal question where I would post it along with my response on this blog. For the record, although I’m a psychology major, I’m in no way a professional. Therefore, any information contained herein is for entertainment purposes only. Furthermore, as I find these types of things interesting, if any of you would like to e-mail me your relationship/marriage/sex oriented problems, I’ll do my best to answer them and post them here. Also, it would be neat to read the reader responses so comment away! Everything, of course, will be anonymous. Click here to send your questions.

Dear X,

My wife and I have been married for approximately 8 years. In the beginning it was great. Our conversations were numerous and the sex plentiful. Unfortunately, all of that has changed for the worst. But, I don’t think it’s anything I’m doing that’s wrong, at least not anything so serious that it would warrant this type of behavior from her. Our conversations are superficial and plastic. Unless it’s about work or the weather outside, nothing deep or meaningful is discussed. Any attempt on my part to talk about our relationship, the meaning of life, anything of substance or whatever, is ignored. She just sits there, quietly. Worse yet, when I share with her my feelings that communication is extremely important to me, and that ignoring me makes me angry, she either continues sitting like a statue looking out the window, or leaves the room. Sex is about as successful as our conversations. She appears to be completely uninterested. Any kind of physical contact is initiated by me. I’m the one that will come and kiss her in the evening, or rub lotion on her back, or request sex. Sometimes, I feel like I’m more of the woman and her the man in the sense that I’m begging for romance and trying very hard to please her. I’ll give you an example. The other evening she wasn’t feeling well, so I told her to go to bed and read, or whatever, and I would take care of everything. I ran downstairs and made her dinner where I brought it to her in bed. Then I vacuumed and mopped all of the floors, and cleaned the kitchen. The next day, thinking that she would still be tired and not wanting to do any work, I took her out to eat and did all of the laundry. Other than her saying, “Thanks” there was nothing. No kiss, no touch, no passion, no anything. I don’t know what to do, dude. Can you help?

ANSWER

I understand that you’re frustrated and disappointed with the current state of your marriage. Let’s look at this rationally and logically. First, you might think that there are multiple problems with your marriage, but really there’s only one. Whatever that problem is, it’s manifesting itself via symptoms such as 1) communication problems, and 2) a lack of lovemaking. To be redundant, you don’t have a separate communications problem and a separate sex problem. One major problem is affecting both areas.

As you probably know, like most colds, you can treat the symptoms, but not the cold itself. What you need to do is find the root cause of your symptoms. Solve that, and the other problems go away.

In any event, nothing can be solved unless both of you are willing to sit down and discover the festering problem that exists. Be forewarned, however, and open to the possibility that you may have done something that has caused her to behave in a rejecting manner. I’m not saying you have, but be open to the possibility. Usually when a person feels rejected, which is what I think you’re feeling, hurt turns into anger, but I don’t think it’s wise that you enter this conversation with the mindset that she’s exclusively the one to blame. It’s possible that the fault may lie with her, but please be open to her side of the story because you may learn something about yourself that you didn’t know existed or happened. It’s human nature, it seems, to always want to blame someone else; it’s easier that way, and boy don’t we all love the path of least resistance which is what blaming is. Therefore, make it a point to sit down with her, and from the outset explain that you want to talk about your relationship and that your open to any and all ideas about 1) the nature of the problem, and 2) what the solution is. Hell, she may tell you that she’s been fantasizing about having a threesome with you but didn’t know how to tell you, and was scared about what your reaction might be. I’m kidding, of course, but I wanted to end this with something that might put a smile on your face. Good luck, my friend.

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