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I'm Really Lost

Question:

I have been in my marriage for over 3 years and it has been good, but in the past year it has become almost like we are great roommates, not a married couple.

She has gone back to school and it has made our relationship hard. We have to make time for each other by making date nights to try and keep it together. Unfortunately, it’s not just seeing each other that’s a problem. Our sex life has diminished to nothing. That is putting a huge strain on our relationship. Finally, it all exploded.

I truly feel that I have fallen out of love with her. I still care and love her but I don’t feel like I am in love with her. I explained how I fee and told her everything. She seems to care and change for a little bit, but then just falls back into her old ways of just doing her thing and we go about our days like old.

I have been pushed to the point where I can’t handle it anymore. I don’t know what to do. I feel like nothing is going to change and we keep going through a cycle? Help give me some guidance because I truly feel like I want a divorce?

How do  approach her because she acts like nothing is wrong and is so oblivious to our problems.

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Answer:

You and your wife are experiencing problems common to many marriages. How do husbands and wives maintain a warm and intimate marriage in the midst attending to busy careers, going to school and attending to home and children. A common complaint is that they are too tired for sexual relations.

Many years ago, when I was in training as a psychotherapist, I had the privilege of watching films of the great family therapist, Nathan Ackerman.  Ackerman was a psychiatrist who was the first to integrate psychoanalysis with family therapy. One particular film struck me as particularly meaningful. The film showed him working with a couple whose marriage was in trouble. Among their many problems was the complaint that they were too tired to have sex. Not accepting this as an excuse to not have sexual relations, he asked, “Well, why are you so tired?” This is a simple question that, at first glance, seems simple but, when given further thought, raises even more questions about an intimate relationship.

Presumably, your wife has stopped engaging in sexual intercourse because she is too tired. Faced with studies, term papers and exams, she feels totally absorbed in her studies and, by the time she finishes all she has to do by the evening, she is too tired for sex. As Acherman is suggesting in his question, this may be an excuse but, what is the real reason for no longer having sex?

There are several potential explanations:

1. Your wife does not like sex and never has.

2. Her libidinal energy is low because of some hormonal problem.

3. There is some physical problem that she does not discuss, such as, pain during sex, some type of vaginal infection, of which there are many, or she is affected by a hypo thyroid problem.

4. She is angry with you for not paying attention to her needs during sexual relations. Some women complain that their partner does not take enough time during foreplay, to really excite them.

5. She does not achieve orgasm, making sex very frustrating for her.

6. You ejaculate too fast for her to be able to achieve any sexual satisfaction for herself.

7. There is pent up anger with you over issues that are not being discussed.

The list can go on.

During my career as a therapist, I always pointed out to the couples I worked with that marital problems are the result of each spouse and not just one. In your very passionate and frustrated plea for help, it’s important for you to understand, that you, in some as yet unclear ways, are also contributing to these problems along with your wife.

Therefore, I want to encourage both of you to enter marriage psychotherapy with a practitioner who is really skillful. Preferably, this would be a therapist trained and licensed in family and marriage therapy.

Best of Luck

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