Candid Corner: Loss of physical attraction

Q: I haven’t been physical with my wife for over a year now. We have been married for three years and mostly get along, but the physical attraction is gone. Sometimes I feel like she is a friend/sister to me, instead of being my partner. She has expressed since a few months that she wants to have a baby, but I am not sure this is a good idea. What should I do?

Ans: I am sure that many married readers will be nodding their heads in solidarity by now. Yes, this is the most common problem couples face when in long term relationships. Living together and sharing many years of life experiences make the relationship safe but also boring, especially in bed. When you first met you were looking for physical and emotional safety to connect deeply but repetition and habit have made everything predictable.

Now you have become too connected to your partner and that’s why you feel like she is a friend/sister. You traded the excitement of uncertainty for stability but as humans we need both. Uncertainty makes things exciting. When we are at the beginning of the relationship, we don’t know who the person is and we are on a constant mission to discover them. There is curiosity, desire, longing, anticipation. How to get these back? Create some distance, and not babies, for the moment.

Distance enough to make you both feel independent and autonomous for a while. It will be more exciting to come back to one another and re-discover each other in a new form. Attraction and sex will usually follow. It might not happen immediately and ‘just like that’. But there is no harm in trying out some arousal boosters. A lot of us get turned on by prohibition, role play and ambivalence. The old-fashioned yes/no game, an unexpected location or moment, a real understanding of the role we want to play in a sexual encounter. Make it uncertain by being naughty and playful. Make it uniquely yours. It’s not long-lasting marriage that makes a good relationship but the skills that strategically balance uncertainty and safety, attachment and autonomy in it.

The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing (www.theintimacycurator.com).

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