From Soulmates to Roommates
01/04/2013 07:54AM ● Published by Style
If your relationship seems more platonic than passionate these days, you’re not alone.
Follow Dr. Deb’s guide below to rekindle the flame.
HE SAID: “I’ve been patient, but I’m getting really frustrated! Our love life has gone from being exciting to nonexistent. We used to spend hours in bed cuddling and making love; I can’t remember the last time that happened!”
DR. DEB SAYS: Have you talked about what is going on? What have you tried so far to bring back the passion?
HE SAID: “I haven’t brought it up directly but she knows how I feel. She can tell when I’m in the mood, and she always has an excuse.”
DR. DEB SAYS: So the two of you have the dance down pat – you come on to her, she backs off, you pout or become resentful, and she waits for it to blow over. Nothing gets discussed, you both feel more distant, and the odds of regaining intimacy go down another notch.
SHE SAID: “That’s about it. I can tell he’s mad, but there are so many other things on my mind, and honestly, I hate when he expects me to feel lovey-dovey at the drop of a hat.”
DR. DEB SAYS: So his style of approach is making things worse. But let me ask you – would you like to find that spark again, that desire, and the closeness that came with it?
SHE SAID: “Of course I would. I’m just not sure where it went. And to be honest, that scares me. What if we’re just meant to be roommates?”
DR. DEB SAYS: Whoa, that’s a big jump. It’s not uncommon to get into patterns like yours – avoiding, resenting and falling into sexual doldrums, until eventually convincing yourself it’s okay. But relationships can end unnecessarily when this happens.
DR. DEB’S RECOMMENDATIONS:
We know most relationships experience a decrease in passion and sexual frequency over time. I believe there are four common reasons.
- We’re biologically designed to feel tons of passion when a relationship starts. Attachment chemicals like oxytocin rise, especially for women; over time, their levels decrease.
- We’re programmed to crave novelty, so any experience that repeats itself has the potential to bore us. Routine sex is a prime candidate.
- If one of you has been traumatized in previous relationships – either emotionally, physically, sexually intimidated or abused (either as an adult, child or teen) – passion can suddenly plummet. There’s definitely still hope for a rewarding love life, but seek professional guidance.
- Life gets in the way. Children, new financial commitments and more demanding jobs all take their toll. Too many people rush around late into the evening and then fall into bed exhausted, thus destroying intimacy and sex lives.
SO WHAT’S A COUPLE TO DO?
- Get real. Acknowledge to each other that your love life has slipped.
- Remember the good times together and let each other know you want more of them.
- Get into counseling (one or both of you) if you realize your avoidance or anxiety about intimacy or sex has deeper roots.
- Introduce some novelty into your lovemaking – it doesn’t have to be anything major. Novelty and play are first cousins. Have fun!
- Do you find yourself claiming, “We don’t have time for a love life”? Slow down and simplify. (And don’t use your kids as an excuse; realize they deserve parents who have a life – and love life – too!)
Dr. Debra Moore is a psychologist and director of Fall Creek Counseling Associates. She can be reached at 916-344-0900 or sacramentopsychology.com.