Takes Two to Rekindle
Q: You recently told "Dick" to try to rekindle the passion he once had with his wife. But what happens when you've told your partner something is missing and she simply can't or won't work to meet your needs? Do you still stay for the sake of the children? I know you say passion comes and goes but what happens when it's been gone for years and your partner doesn't respond to your concerns? Like the previous gentleman, I have multiple children and love my wife but we haven't had passion in our marriage for years and I am starting to feel as though we will never get it back. We've been married for nine years and I'd love to stay with her for life but can't imagine living like this for the duration... Your thoughts? -- Carl, 35
Dr. Susan: Sometimes passion is too much to ask for. Many long-marrieds learn to be quite happy with simple satisfaction. Meaning, sparks are indeed hard to get to flame up once they're died down, but you can certainly expect attention to your reasonable needs. Meaning? Your wife ought to listen to you. Men and women both tend to take one another for granted after a while. It's too much to hope that courting behavior will last forever, or that out-of-your-mind sexual passion will go on till death do you part. But with a little imagination and effort, many couples find ways to add novelty to their routines. Such novelty is one of the keys to enjoyment, engagement, livening up what seemed moribund.
Bottom line: tell her you're desperate. Tell her that your intimate life MATTERS to you. Tell her specific activities and frequency are negotiable, but it's not negotiable that you HAVE a sex life. Offer to do whatever it takes to relieve any burdens she's experiencing. Some couples find a workable compromise this way: they do it however she likes, but they do it nonetheless. Leaving, or staying just for the children, aren't your only options. Drag your wife to a therapist's office if need be, but get her to take you seriously.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.