Are You Spouses or Just Roommates?
You've drifted into a sexless marriage. Can this relationship be saved? Yes, experts say.
The Anatomy of Love continued...
"It moves from the romantic and exciting to an attachment kind of
loving, fondness," Foley tells WebMD. "That gotta have it, gotta have
it feeling is gone."
Take stock of what you want, she advises. If you want a sex life, then
commit to making it happen, Foley says. "Not everyone wants a sex life as
they head into last third of life. But AARP studies show that
65% remain sexually active."
Put aside the romanticized, silver-screen notions of sex, Foley says.
"The majority of people your age are having good-enough sex. Occasionally,
they have sex that knocks it out of the ballpark. But they're having sex
regularly. They're getting into bed, hugging and touching, canoodling as I call
it, and they're doing it on a regular basis."
You've also got to set aside negative attitudes about your spouse. "You
have to give up fantasy notions that he or she is suddenly going to be 20
pounds lighter with no cellulite. You have to decide, 'This is what I want, how
do I proceed,'" she advises.
Then, have "the talk" with your spouse. You have to be willing to
say this to your partner: "We need to jazz up our sex life. We have fallen
into some bad habits. I'm not going to settle for this level. We need to have
sex, the same as we do other things that are important to us. We have to set
aside time for it.'"
He's Just Not Up for It?
If your partner is unwilling, here's your dialogue: "We need to go for a
brief round of counseling to get our priorities straight. I'm not willing to
settle for a relationship where you sit in a chair, pop a few beers, and our
sex life is over."
The stereotype of grumpy old men exists for a reason, Foley explains.
"With aging comes an increase in depression and irritability. Women
complain to me -- I was ready to try these things, but I couldn't get my
partner to do it."
Often, the irritability and crankiness is actually masking anxiety and
depression. If your partner is downright snarly about it, then you've got to
stand your ground. "This isn't the kind of thing in this day and age that
people live with," she says. "Our parents or grandparents may have
lived that way, but we don't anymore."
With therapy and the right medication, the irritable anxiousness and
depression can disappear. If your partner won't go to counseling, then you need
to go alone, she says. "Counseling can help you figure out strategies to